Taking a look at how the sequester could affect W. Mich. health

Updated: Wednesday, February 27 2013, 07:46 PM EST
Taking a look at how the sequester could affect W. Mich. health story image
BATTLE CREEK (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – The possibility of $85 billion in spending cuts is on the table in Washington D.C. It could not only affect hundreds of thousands of government worker’s salaries but also your health.

Workers at the FDA, USDA and CDC would face furloughs.

“It's going to put our food safety and public health at risk,” said Julia Bradsher, International Food Protection Training Institute.

The International Food Protection Training Institute works closely with the FDA to train food inspectors and regulators. 45,000 inspectors and 6,500 USDA workers would face furloughs.

“I've also heard of the potential for inspectors with the USDA they would be furloughed for 2 weeks,” said Bradsher.

Which Bradsher says would put meat and poultry processing at a standstill. By law, every processor must have a USDA inspector on site to prevent the spread of outbreaks such as salmonella.

“It means consumers are gunna have to have scarce availability of meat and poultry,” said Bradsher.

Seafood could also be impacted, about 85% is imported only about 2% is ever inspected.

“The FDA has estimated 24% reduction would occur as a result of the sequestration,” said Bradsher.

All of this Bradsher says, would increase the risk of food-bourne illness.

The lead agency to investigate outbreaks is the CDC. Those workers would also be furloughed.

“Epidemiologists, people who are really at the front of investigating once outbreaks occur. If we don't have those inspections all the more risks that could be out there,” said Bradsher.

The president of the International Food Protection Training Institute says its partnership with the FDA could also be affected. They’ve partnered to ensure safe food training throughout the U.S.

That could be on hold if the sequestration takes effect.
Taking a look at how the sequester could affect W. Mich. health
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