Hiring Freezes Have Consequences: Enjoy That Burger

Or salad (boldface mine):

At the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the other federal agency primarily involved in food safety efforts, the federal hiring freeze imposed by the new administration is having an impact on the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS).

In an internal message sent to FSIS employees on Jan. 18 and obtained by Food Safety News warned that delays in lab tests are expected through at least March 3. The FSIS is responsible for ensuring the safety of meat, poultry, processed egg products and catfish.

“Effective Jan. 18, 2017, due to a temporary decrease in staffing, results on pathology samples submitted to the FSIS laboratory system will be delayed,” according to the email sent to all FSIS employees.

“AMR-01 and rush cases will be given priority status; however turnaround times are expected to be delayed by at least 24 hours on these samples. This is expected to be rectified by March 3, 2017, but is dependent on staffing key vacancies. The Pathology Branch apologies for the inconvenience these delays will cause.”

At least one member of Congress is concerned that the FSIS message is the tip of the hiring freeze iceberg.

“Less than a week into the Trump Administration, we are already seeing the devastating effects of President Trump’s federal hiring freeze. News that the USDA does not have enough staff to properly test the nation’s food supply is extremely disconcerting and it is only a matter of time until a consumer ends up sick — or worse, dead,” U.S. Rep Rosa Delauro, D-CT told Food Safety News.

Rep. Delauro is right: remember Il Trumpe and co-president Bannon want to slash government functions. If they’re not willing to provide what is necessary, then we’re screwed.

Enjoy that burger. And salad. And…

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