FDA suspends domestic food inspections during government shutdown

Galtero Lara
Enero 11, 2019

"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". Many USDA offices are closed during the shutdown but those inspections continue as usual, according to the agency's shutdown contingency plan.

The U.S. food supply might be at risk because of the partial government shutdown.

According to The Washington Post, Gottlieb said he was working on plans to bring back the 150 now furloughed inspectors as early as next week to specifically focus on high-risk facilities after the shuttering of the government forced him to cancel 50 high-risk inspections. The outbreak appears to be over, and the FDA's investigation into it is ongoing. A meeting Wednesday between congressional leaders and President Donald Trump ended abruptly, with the president storming out when Democratic lawmakers refused to fund a wall at the U.S. -Mexico border. "All our work is important, but only some of our work is permitted to continue during a lapse in funding".

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It's the rotten result of hundreds of FDA inspectors having been furloughed. Almost 7,000 of the agency's 17,000 employees are furloughed. "That puts our food supply at risk", Sorscher said. That includes drug approvals, inspections of drug producing facilities and regulating tobacco products. "There are important things we are not doing", Gottlieb told NBC News. Gottlieb said riskier foods account for about a third of the food covered by the agency's domestic inspections.

"We are doing what we can to mitigate any risk to consumers through the shutdown", Gottlieb said. They expect to restart some of those inspections next week.

Meat, poultry, and egg facilities not inspected by the FDA are overseen by the US Department of Agriculture, which has maintained inspections during the shutdown.

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