It also opposes language in the bill that would prevent USDA from finalizing and enacting controversial new Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration rules on livestock marketing.
The White House made its public statement as the House of Representatives prepares to vote on the committee-passed bill as follows:
“The Administration is concerned with the funding provided in the bill for the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) which will significantly hamper USDA’s ability to inspect food processing plants and prevent food borne illnesses and disease such as E. coli and Salmonella from contaminating America’s food supply. The Committee’s recommendation may require the agency to furlough employees including frontline inspectors which make up over 80 percent of FSIS staff. By reducing FSIS inspections, food processing plants may be forced to reduce line speeds, which could lead to decreasing product output and profits, as well as plant closures.”
“The Administration opposes the inclusion of section 721 of the bill, which effectively prevents USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration from finalizing a rule on conduct that would violate the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921. The final rule has not yet been published and any concerns about the rule are better addressed through the standard rulemaking process than through an appropriations rider.”
The White House also called out concerns about proposed funding cuts for USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) that provides nutrition programs to prevent hunger, the Healthy Food Financing Initiative that combats childhood obesity, USDA research programs, FDA and international food aid programs.