NORWALK - Consumer experts say there could be an increase in prices at the supermarket and a jump in foodborne illnesses if the sequester takes effect.
The Department of Agriculture (DOA) says it will have to temporarily lay off thousands of meat inspectors if the cuts go through. Meat industry experts say that would shut down plants, resulting in fewer steaks and chicken breasts on store shelves, but with a significant price hike.
The White House says the cuts would also lead to fewer food safety inspectors over time, boosting the chance of foodborne illness.
Analysts say it would take at least 30 days before there are changes in meat pricing and availability because the USDA has to give inspectors that much notice before they're furloughed.
The White House said today President Barack Obama will meet with Congressional leaders on Friday to discuss the possible $85 billion in mandatory spending cuts.