Food safety concerns rise with budget cuts

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by Associated Press

khou.com

Posted on March 6, 2013 at 11:00 PM

There could be an estimated 2,100 fewer food safety inspections.

That could mean greater risks to consumers, because of the cuts and because the lack of a new 2013 budget means the Food and Drug Administration is held at last year’s spending level.

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said most of the effects wouldn’t be felt for a while, and the agency won’t have to furlough workers.

On meat inspections, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday that it will be “several months” before meat inspectors are furloughed as part of across-the-board spending cuts.

He said that each meat inspector will likely be furloughed 11 days or 12 days, instead of 15 days as the Obama administration indicated earlier.

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