Foodservice Equipment Reports

USDA Will Shutter 259 Offices

In a move that cuts costs but raises concerns about food safety, the U.S. Agriculture Department announced Jan. 9 that it will close 259 offices, labs and facilities nationwide.

The plan, which will save $60 million, affects USDA headquarters in Washington and operations in 46 states. Seven foreign offices also will be shut.Some of the closures had been previously announced, but others were unexpected.The deputy district manager for the Food Safety and Inspection Service in Minneapolis told the Associated Press that he was surprised to learn his office would be closed, along with those in Madison, Wis., and Lawrence, Kan. "They wiped out the entire Midwest," said Andrew Lorenz, whose office handles all federal inspections of meat, poultry and egg products in Minnesota, Montana, the Dakotas and Wyoming.FSIS offices in Chicago and Des Moines, Iowa, will remain open. It was not immediately clear whether work from the other offices would be shifted to them.

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