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Meat Industry Could Shut Down For Two Weeks – Steak Shortage!

Flickr: Another Pint Please

We’ve heard about the fiscal clip for what seems like forever and a day – Now it’s reared it’s ugly head again, this time it could be effecting the meat industry.

The White House is now saying that the federal cuts, along with the “unresolved fiscal cliff” issues, may shut the meat industry down for a minimum of two weeks starting March 1st. The shut down could be even longer depending on what can be done in the meantime.

Here’s the breakdown: The federal cuts would force meat inspectors to take several weeks off. It’s illegal to ship meat, poultry, and lamb without inspection approval from the Agricultural Department.

What does that mean?

Meat prices would skyrocket in the wake of the shut down. So the price of a steak at the grocery store or the wings you love from your favorite bar would go up. The industry itself could lose upwards of  $10 billion! It also means a meat shortly would occur shortly after the price hike.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told “There is not much we can do when Congress says to cut every line item by a certain percent.”

Most of the money the agency spends is on employees, around $1 billion annually, with 8,400 inspectors at 6,290 slaughter and processing plants nationwide.

Some are asking that the plants are allowed to stay open while the inspection downtime is happening to avoid a mass shortage once the inspectors return to the job.

Now might be a good time to stock up and freeze your favorite meats for the month of March.

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