Do You Need To Be Worried About Food Safety During The Partial Government Shutdown?

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The short answer is: No.

Although the shutdown has affected agencies such as the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the TSA (Transportation Security Administration), the  FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has agencies whose work is considered essential to public safety and therefore will continue normal operations. So things such as monitoring foodborne illnesses, responding to high-risk food recalls, such as the romaine lettuce recall that recently occurred, or monitoring meat, poultry, and processed egg products will continue.

However, it’s always good to err on the side of safety, so make sure to thoroughly wash your produce and keep food within safe temperature range: cold foods should be kept below 40 degrees and hot foods above 140 degrees.

To read more, here are a few clips from recent news:

“In practice, the FDA carries out routine inspections at most plants only once every few years. So 99 percent of the country’s non-meat food facilities were not going to get inspected this month even if all the inspectors had been working as normal. As a result of the shutdown, fewer will, but the overall impact is small.

According to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, the FDA is carrying on other food safety activities despite the partial shutdown. Inspectors continue to monitor food that’s entering the U.S. from abroad, and they stand ready to investigate any U.S. outbreak of foodborne illness.”

From NPR – https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2019/01/12/684589220/dont-panic-the-shutdown-isn-t-making-food-unsafe

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“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is restarting inspections of high-risk foods that had been stopped due to the federal government shutdown as early as Tuesday.

The estimated 150 furloughed people recalled to do this are mostly unpaid, according to FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb.  

High-risk foods include seafood; dairy products, including soft and semi-soft cheeses; custard-filled bakery products; unpasteurized juices; fresh fruits and vegetables; spices; shell eggs; sandwiches; prepared salads; and infant formula, he said.”

From USA Today – https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/01/15/government-shutdown-inspections-fda-food-safety/2581587002/

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“The Food and Drug Administration confirmed this week that hundreds of food inspectors will go back to work after the agency missed some routine inspections of high-risk facilities during the shutdown.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb tweeted that about 400 staff were coming back to work, mostly inspectors and support staff that will resume inspecting high-risk food production facilities and facilities that manufacture drugs and medical devices.”

From ABC News – https://abcnews.go.com/beta-story-container/Politics/day-walkup-recaps-tightly-top-things-stand-breaks/story?id=60376450

 

 

© 2019 Tamara Jefferies.

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