How the government shutdown is impacting food inspections

11 January, 2019, 22:56 | Author: Regina Silva
  • Food inspections

The partial government shutdown has left America's food industry in a pickle - as the Food and Drug Administration has been forced to suspend routine inspections of food-processing facilities. The outbreak appears to be over, and the FDA's investigation into it is ongoing.

The agency is still conducting inspections of foreign food coming into the country but under its shutdown contingency plan regular inspections of domestic facilities are suspended, raising concerns that Americans could be at higher risk for outbreaks of foodborne pathogens.

The partial government shutdown has been going since December 22 with no sign of a compromise. It comes as the agency continues to deal with an absent workforce, thanks to the government shutdown.

Its inspectors are among more than 800,000 federal employees affected by the shutdown - the result of an impasse between President Trump and congressional Democrats over funding for the US-Mexico border wall.

Gottlieb said he's considering recalling 10 percent of the food inspection team because it's "the right thing to do for public safety".

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"A total waste of time", the president declared of the meeting afterward. "But, on the domestic side, in rough numbers we'd typically do about 160 domestic food inspections each week, and 1/3 of those would be considered high risk". "I said bye-bye, nothing else works!"

Gottlieb said the FDA's goal is to handle the most important inspections.

From lettuce, to cereal and even ice cream - the FDA commissioner sent some stern tweets about potential candidates in food.

"We are doing what we can to mitigate any risk to consumers through the shutdown", Gottlieb told the paper.

The FDA is responsible for monitoring all food in the U.S. except meat, poultry, and eggs which are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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