Published: Mon, January 14, 2019
Finance | By Loren Pratt

FDA Food Inspections Slowing Due to Government Shutdown

FDA Food Inspections Slowing Due to Government Shutdown

The FDA inspects around 80 percent of the country's food supply, including fruit and vegetables, bottled water, cheese, and prepackaged goods.

Further, as Gottlieb revealed on Twitter, the agency was "standing up high-risk inspections".

"Want to calm some fears because of somewhat sensational reporting on the shutdown", Perdue said in a tweet Friday in response to alarming headlines, including those from The New York Times and NBC News, over food inspections halting during the government shutdown. He notes that meat and some poultry products are still being inspected by employees now going without pay but "there are important things we are not doing". Without regular inspections, we are at a high risk of catching food-borne illnesses, which send about 128,000 people to the hospital each year, and kill 3,000, according to the NYT report, which adds, "The F.D.A. inspects food companies for bugs, rodents, mishandled food, improper preparation and other hazards".

The FDA doesn't oversee meat and poultry and those inspections are continuing. He noted FDA had stopped or delayed only a small number of the roughly 8,400 inspections the agency routinely conducts each year.

"If those inspectors are not there what happens?" she asked.

And he said that the business which is now going to be resumed isn't as usual because they are not going to work for the things as they used to do in normal situations and the thing most important is that they even aren't doing anything.

"It may be a few dozen but not much more", the commissioner said of the postponed inspections.

There were more than 88,000 registered food facilities in the United States in 2016, according to FDA data. "The inspections the FDA does can identify problems before they have a chance to make people sick". Some of the tasks which have been done by the FDA like the drug approvals and inspections, drug production facilities and the regulation of the tobacco products which are paid by the user fee. Because inspections typically don't take place during the holidays, this is the first week that the shutdown is directly impacting the FDA.

But Craig Hedberg, PhD, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health, says the shutdown "shouldn't pose an imminent food-safety threat" - as long as the impasse over President Donald Trump's demand for $5.7 billion for a wall along the Mexican border gets resolved quickly.

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