WASHINGTON—With the federal government back open this week, food safety officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Monday that they had begun a round of quick smell tests in order to inspect the sizeable backlog of meat that had piled up over the course of 35 days. “The shutdown put us really far behind on inspections, so this seems like the best bet to get us back on track,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters as he worked his way through the stacks of meat in his office, noting that over the past month, approximately 4 million tons of meat had accumulated in his department’s facilities awaiting the okay from furloughed inspectors. “Right now, our priority is giving all this meat a good sniff and getting it out to the American people as fast as we can. Most of it seems all right. Some of the stuff is close to turning but could still be used for stew. We’ve got a lot to get through, so as long as there isn’t a visible film on it or anything, we’ll probably just stamp it Grade A and put it on the shelves.” Perdue went on to add that when workers were done playing catch-up with the meat, they would move on to the estimated 600 million gallons of milk currently sitting in the USDA headquarters basement.