Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Just in from Washington

USDA Upset with Drudge

Washington--The U.S. Department of Agriculture attacked a story that appeared on the popular 'Drudge Report' Website on Tuesday. The USDA called the report 'a misleading criticism' of federal stimulus spending. The Agency clarified that the government did not spend $1,191,200 for one two-pound ham.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released a pointed statement in response to the website posting that claimed that the USDA bought a 2 pound frozen ham, sliced for $1,191,200.

"Press reports suggesting that the Recovery Act spent $1.191 million to buy '2 pounds of ham' are wrong," Vilsack said in the statement. He explained the description of "2 pound frozen ham sliced" referred to the packaging size and that the USDA in fact purchased 760,000 pounds of ham for $1.191 million, at a cost of approximately $1.50 per pound.

The bulk ham purchase is for food banks, soup kitchens and other local organizations that help the needy through the state-run Emergency Food Assistance Program.Vilsack added, "While the principal purpose of these expenditures is to provide food to those hardest hit by these tough times, the purchases also provide a modest economic benefit of benefiting Americans working at food retailers, manufacturers and transportation companies as well as the farmers and ranchers who produce our food supply."

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