Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Economy | By

FDA Halts Routine Food Inspections Due to Government Shutdown

FDA Halts Routine Food Inspections Due to Government Shutdown

Just past year, the agency and the CDC helped pinpoint an outbreak of E. coli to romaine lettuce and track breakfast cereal that sickened some people with salmonella. "There are important things we are not doing", Gottlieb told NBC News.

Gottlieb said that the agency, which oversees about 80 percent of the food supply, is continuing to surveil foreign manufacturers and imported food, as well as any domestic producers involved in a current recall or outbreak.

Scott Gottlieb, the head of the agency, said in a series of tweets that the FDA would normally inspect about 160 domestic manufacturing and food processing plants each week, about a third of which are associated with high-risk foods (like seafood, soft cheeses, and fresh fruits and vegetables).

The U.S. government isn't doing routine food inspections because of the partial federal shutdown, but checks of the riskiest foods are expected to resume next week.


The FDA plans to either find new funding to bring inspectors back, or order them to work until the shutdown is over, then offer backpay. "That puts our food supply at risk", Sorscher said. "Regular inspections, which help stop foodborne illness before people get sick, are vital".

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 48 million people in the USA get sick each year from food-borne diseases and about 3,000 of those people die.

"We are still performing those inspections and do routine sampling in both processors and retail establishments", said Heather Lansdowne with the Kansas State Department of Agriculture.

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