The sequester, in which $85 billion in budget cuts are set to be approved, could affect "What's for Dinner?"
The U.S. Department of Agriculture stated it will be forced to furlough meat inspectors, which could have a direct impact on the meat supply.
"You cannot run a meat facility without government inspection. It's as simple as that," said Vice President and General Manager of Cargill Meat John Niemann.
If production at Cargill, a meat distributor in Fresno that sells to valley meat markets, stores and restaurants, were to come to a stop the affects could be detrimental.
"We take one day out of production the next day their meat cases are empty, two days later people might be lining up looking for food, three days later we have a meat crisis on our hands," said Niemann.
Everyday an equivalent of four million meals are produced at Cargill, that's equal to 20 million quarter pound hamburgers every week.
For safety reasons, every pound, every slab must be inspected. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said sequestration would force it to lay off 8,400 meat inspectors for 15 days.
"If all California meat inspectors can't work on a Friday or a Monday it would be 24 hours and everyone would notice," said Cargill, speaking at a press conference Friday held in Fresno by Congressman Jim Costa.
Less food also means higher prices.
There is another, less catastrophic, option on the table: rolling furloughs. It would mean one or two fewer inspectors at each location. The disruption in the supply chain would be minimal.
It is up to the U.S.D.A. which option to choose.
Congressman Costa said the choice is clear. "If they have to implement these furloughs that they do it in a way that employs common sense that minimizes the impact."
Meat inspectors must be given a 30-day notice of a furlough, so it could be weeks or months before the industry is affected.
We made some calls to several meat markets in the area. None of the managers had heard of any supply issues, yet.