USDA officials address COVID-19 concerns
USDA officials say their agencies are prepared to “utilize authority and all administrative means” to ensure grading and inspection personnel are available as impacts from the coronavirus unfold.
In a statement to the industry, Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Mindy Brashears and Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach say the agencies are committed to ensuring the health and safety of their employees while still providing delivery of services to maintain movement of the food supply.
Brashears and Ibach say it is more important than ever to assure the American public that government and industry will take all steps necessary to assure continued access to safe and wholesome USDA- inspected products.
The statement did not provide any details on steps the agencies might take to address the issues.
The USDA reports:
· Meat, poultry, and processed egg inspection services continue as normal.
· APHIS (Animal Plant Health Inspection Service) and AMS (Ag Marketing Service) continue to provide critical inspections and grading services.
· AMS will continue to report commodity prices through its market news service.
· Commodity markets can be assured that the USDA will keep America’s food supply safe as well as abundant during this national emergency.
· APHIS and AMS are prepared to remedy any possible disruptions in their services.