NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler is concerned that if automatic federal budget cuts, known as sequestration are implemented on Friday, all North Carolinians could feel the affect. One of the biggest immediate impacts is that federal meat and poultry inspectors could be furloughed, which means that many meat and poultry plants that operate under daily inspection would not be able to. Those cuts could affect the operation of about 260 plants in North Carolina.
“The biggest concern we have right now is the impact we will have on federal meat and poultry inspectors if they are furloughed. That means that meat and poultry plants that operate under daily inspection couldn’t operate so you will see an interruption in commerce and the meat supply.
You might not think it would affect our state inspection but it will. Because of the federal funds that are involved in state inspections, it could affect the operation of 260 plants in NC.
We would consider agriculture as essential, but it will be a decision that is made in Washington so we will have to see. There is also a lot of talk about the number of FDA food and safety inspectors that would be temporarily laid off under the spending cuts, so we could see some type of interruption in commerce and certainly an impact on food safety.
It won’t be as big an impact as the meat inspectors, is that we do most of the inspections of manufacturing food facilities in our food and drug protection division.
With congress, they seem to only get motivated to do something when there is a looming deadline, so that might be the situation here. Down the road there are a lot of federal grants that we are involved in so how this will affect us long term with these budget cuts is not clear.”