Also in this playlist...
This transcript is automatically generated
Only to get more days before we're hit with the dreaded sequestered -- the president has until midnight Friday night.
To sign the order and government agencies are making a list.
In -- last push sounding the alarm about the dire impact of the US secretary of agriculture Tom Vilsack.
Has warned that cuts to the USDA which oversees safety inspections of meat and poultry and egg processing plant.
It could result in May be a ten billion dollar lost to the industry not to mention higher prices and even supply shortages for consumers -- short time ago.
I spoke to secretary Vilsack from the New York Stock Exchange on whether the whole situation.
-- being blown out of proportion.
Another reality is the way the sequester structured we've got to cut every line item of our budget including one in food safety.
By the same uniform around.
When the food safety budget is predominantly Frontline inspectors.
It means that we will have to furlough inspectors.
When those inspectors walk off -- line because they're being furloughed.
Those plants will have to shut down production for the time of the -- Yes that's the unfortunate circumstance of congress -- getting -- job done by dealing with the deficit dealing with in this -- way.
Okay I'm sorry for the rude or impertinent question but given that -- -- -- crisis -- our food Michael out the door without any inspections.
How would it did you had time to be at the New York Stock Exchange today shouldn't be hide bound to your desk in Washington working on this crisis -- some kind of war rumor some.
-- -- first well let's be clear about this your -- not going to leave that facility without being inspected.
What it means is that the production lines we'll -- to shut down and that's that the tragedy of this and so it's important for folks understand and appreciate exactly what's going on here.
We are in New York today.
In order to talk to folks about the consequences.
We're also -- folks about that summer nutrition programs the impact.
That this withdrawal have on 600000 women and infant and children who will not get the benefits of the -- program this question.
Yeah I see you -- let's talk about your meat inspectors -- I find it very hard to believe that.
Person -- in their own shop the way you're running your own Department of Agriculture there doesn't have a little more discretion.
-- cut back on some public relations spending up I'll come back at a public -- campaign I'll cut some travel why would you have to cut your inspectors straight out.
Well first filter reasons one because the sequester requires it.
It requires that every line had to be cut by the same amount there's no discretion of flexibility.
Secondly our budget is actually one point.
Billion dollars less with a sequester that was in 2009.
So we basically gone for years without any increase.
And so we have been engaged in all the activities you've mentioned we've.
We've cut travel we've -- conferences we've cut supplies all told between those efforts and our reduction of our workforce by 8%.
We've saved somewhere between 7017000001.
Billion dollars price is that we've -- that's how we dealt with the -- -- -- this point okay questions on top of that.
Borrowers -- spent that much less today vs actually savient that does every let's see you only have loved about that 848500.
Problem they -- they and they -- one out of every what ten -- hundred pieces of meat coming off the plan out what what's the ratio with the inspections.
Well it depends on the wrong whether you're talking about poultry or process before or processed pork.
The bottom line is that we're fairly confident in our food supply being saved by the systems that we haven't were obviously looking at ways to improve those inspection systems.
But the law basically mandates that companies can't sell.
Product that was it's been inspected and -- also mandates that USDA be the one that those inspection.
Yeah -- wonder whether a company can be trusted to do to protect its own brand by making shares of the -- spoiled food.
I've got some numbers for -- have a Mission Impossible I looked at what here.
Your food service inspection service -- a report from -- eleven and they've got 626300.
Sites to inspect.
They've got a 147.
Million head of livestock every year to inspect.
They got nine point one billion chicken -- -- and doing that is may be like a staff of 8600 in the field.
And which means -- have to be inspecting 53 carcasses per hour almost one -- What these guys kind of rubber stamp and stuff anyway could the -- go -- -- the company cannot take care of it.
Well the problem is that the law doesn't allow that doesn't report doesn't mandated that it mandates that USDA basically.
Be there in order to conduct the inspection a lot of mandates that the company has to have the food -- I would tell you that.
It's not just simply watching the -- go down the line it's also some of the testing that's done.
Some of the pathology that's done to make sure that there's not Salmonella or.
An increased amount of -- -- and we are constantly learning more about the science -- actually changing.
Our inspection process to make sure that we do the best job we possibly can.
In terms of food safety this is an issue here where it isn't so much about food safety is it is about food production once our inspectors believe that.
Processing facility that processing facility have to shut down operations that's the distraction that's the end of the uncertainty of all.
All right I gotta tell -- for some us outside the beltway we hear all -- hand wringing we saw this crisis and it feels a little contrived a little manipulated.
Let's set up your trip to the New York Stock Exchange to preach to the downside of the sequestered -- this directed by the White House was -- your own decision.
Our communications department wants to make sure that people understand and appreciate that when this disruption -- they have adequate notice in the we're gonna do everything we possibly can.
To minimize disruption but there's no question in the food safety area we have very very little flexibility because most of the budget.
Isn't he does front -- workers in support systems for this Frontline workers so if you're gonna sequester you're gonna have to cut five or 6% of that budget.
And you have to do and if three or 45 month period it is really about ten to 50% of the remaining money that you have and there's just no way you can do it without affecting personnel.
Did you think both part I think congress by taking care -- that and -- set aside you meat inspector guys and decided that let them go ahead and go uncut.
Well thank you for being with us today we appreciate your time very much mr.
secretary -- here.
Filter by section