U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program leaders this week emphasized the effectiveness of the agency’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, both for employees and U.S. consumers dependent upon the food supply. USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach and USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Mindy Brashears, sent a letter to stakeholders providing them with reassurances related to the response of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), and Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to issues associated with COVID-19
“As leaders of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Agricultural Marketing Service, and Food Safety and Inspection Service, we can assure you that the agencies are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our employees while still providing the timely delivery of the services to maintain the movement of America’s food supply from farm to fork,” they wrote. “As we come together as a country to address this public health threat, know that USDA remains committed to working closely with industry to fulfill our mission of ensuring the safety of the U.S. food supply and protecting agricultural health,” the letter continued.
Meat, poultry, and processed egg inspection services continue as normal, and the FSIS is working to prioritize inspections at local establishments based on local conditions and resources available, the USDA reported. In addition, APHIS and AMS continue to provide inspections and grading services and are prepared for possible service disruptions.