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With the possibility of a federal government shutdown looming, poultry industry associations yesterday urged the Obama Administration to classify federal food inspectors as "essential" personnel.
"Withdrawal of inspection services would be completely unnecessary and could cause havoc for our industry and for our customers and consumers across the country and around the world," said Joel Brandenberger, president of the National Turkey Federation, and Mike Brown, president of the National Chicken Council, in a letter was sent to President Obama, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and key members of Congress.
Brandenberger and Brown pointed out that federal law requires the presence of federal inspectors in poultry and meat plants while fresh meat is being processed. All meat and poultry products in the United States are federally inspected before being shipped to consumers.
In past shutdowns, federal meat and poultry inspectors have been recognized as "essential" federal employees due to their role in protecting public health and safety.