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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

USDA Reassures Processors of Continued FSIS Inspection


The presence of FSIS personnel is critical to production at red-meat and poultry plants under the jurisdiction of the FSIS. The Agency has accordingly developed contingency plans in the event of coronavirus cases among inspectors.


In representations to the USDA, the United States Cattlemen’s Association requested flexibility to avoid shutdowns. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association also emphasized the need to make sure that slaughtering continues to maintain supply and to support prices. Unlike the poultry industry that is fully integrated, packers including Tyson Foods, JBS and Smithfield Foods purchase livestock from producers.  Disruptions in processing result in sharp declines in transfer prices to the detriment of farmers.  Currently the USDA is evaluating anti-competitive behavior following a fire at a major Tyson Foods plant in Kansas that resulted in reduced capacity and hence lower prices for live animals. Cattle and hog farmers are concerned that a similar situation could result from a COVID-19 outbreak, affecting FSIS Inspectors resulting in plant shutdowns, depressing the market for their products.

Copyright © 2020 Simon M. Shane