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Local USDA inspectors still on the clock during shutdown

Posted at 6:27 PM, Jan 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-22 19:27:10-05

CLAREMORE, Okla. — Thousands of government jobs remain on hold without pay, but many are still working without that paycheck because their jobs are crucial to protect people.

The US Department of Agriculture is one of the programs hit by the shutdown, even posting on their website that their content and information is not current.

Despite the lack of federal funding, critical services the USDA performs like food safety inspections, are continuing.

"Our inspector is going to be here everyday regardless of what happens," said Lyndon Walke. "They’re operating like the military is. If they don’t come to work, they’re AWOL."

Walke is the plant manager at Walke Meat Company in Claremore where his family has owned the meat processing business for more than two decades.

He said every step of their process is inspected by the USDA, which includes checking temperatures twice every day.

"I could tell you what temperature that summer sausage got to when it was cooked and how fast it cooled down," said Walke.

The cleaning process is a major part of their every day routine.

Every surface and machine is completely sanitized and then inspected the next day by employees and the inspector.

"You could walk into our processing room at 6 o’clock in the morning and you couldn’t tell if we manufactured marbles or what because it is so clean and that is because of our inspectors," Walke said.

Walke said he is thankful for all of the inspectors who are showing up to work every single day allowing them to continue operations.

"They’re being really good right now, troopers because without them we can’t be who we are and without us they can’t be who they are," Walke said.

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