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CORONAVIRUS: FSIS taking several steps to continue work at production plants with at least 100 inspectors sick Featured

CORONAVIRUS: FSIS taking several steps to continue work at production plants with at least 100 inspectors sick USDA FSIS logos

As coronavirus numbers keep increasing, a lot of attention is on workers at production facilities getting sick. But federal meat and food inspectors are also coming down with the illness.


The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service has confirmed to KVOE News around 100 inspectors have developed COVID-19 since the pandemic began. All told, the department has 137 employees that have tested positive and another 125 under self-quarantine.

Public Affairs Specialist Buck McKay says the safety and well-being of employees is the department's top priority as inspectors continue their work to keep the food supply safe. FSIS is letting inspectors in high-risk health categories self-certify with their supervisors and also step away from their inspection duties until the infection risk decreases.

The agency has had to move inspectors to different sites because of the illness. It is also increasing the number of hours part-time workers can serve, and it's shifting workers in other USDA departments like the Agricultural Marketing Service and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to meet the demand. McKay says a decrease in the number, speed and operating hours of different plants is easing the situation for inspectors.

McKay did not say whether any of the ill inspectors were serving at production facilities in Lyon County or neighboring counties. He said the USDA would ensure enough inspectors were available so food production plants would not have to shut down.

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Last modified on Monday, 27 April 2020 05:38