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Sen. Johnson Presses USDA-FSIS for Info on Mask Mandates
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 09/13/2021

A group of farm state Republican senators, including Wisconsin's Ron Johnson, are requesting information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding the Food Safety and Inspection Service imposing a mask mandate for employees at private businesses.

The lawmakers say they have heard from a number of meat packing and poultry processing plants regarding what appears to be an extrajudicial mandate on private businesses by the FSIS.

Johnson claims that these businesses informed the senators that, due to FSIS's sudden actions, they have been forced to shut down or are fearful they will be soon be shut down for reasons wholly unrelated to compliance with laws, rules, or regulations enforced by FSIS.

"Individual processing facilities and plants have established policies to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 that work best for their employees and operations and are adhering to local and state guidance and restrictions," the senators wrote. "Further, it is questionable whether FSIS has the authority to withhold conducting inspection services, thus resulting in products being labeled as 'adulterated,' for reasons not authorized by Congress or outside the rule making process required by the Administrative Procedure Act."

The other co-signers of the letter include Josh Hawley, Missouri; Rand Paul, Kentucky; Kevin Cramer, North Dakota; Tom Cotton, Arkansas; and Jim Inhofe, Oklahoma.

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