Routine food inspections halted by U.S. government shutdown

Routine food inspections halted by U.S. government shutdown

It comes as the agency continues to deal with an absent workforce, thanks to the government shutdown. "The idea that a couple weeks of no routine food inspections puts us all in danger is probably a bit of a stretch".

The partial government shutdown has been going since December 22 with no sign of a compromise. The shutdown, now in its 19th day, is the President's response to not yet receiving Democratic approval for funding a wall along the U.S./Mexico border.

"A total waste of time", the president declared of the meeting afterward. Under normal circumstances, the FDA inspects around 160 USA food production facilities a week, many of them deemed high-risk.

"Our work protects the food that families feed their children and pets and ensures the effectiveness of the medicine they need, all of which contribute to improving the health and welfare of Americans", it said.

FDA is permitted to continue some work, though. FDA actually changed its travel policies last week so inspectors can charge travel expenses to a government account instead of personal credit cards. Almost 7,000 of the agency's 17,000 employees are furloughed.

Its regulation of new medical products could be affected as well. That's according to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who revealed the news in an interview with the Washington Post published Wednesday.

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"It's not business as usual, and we are not doing all the things we would do under normal circumstances".

Gottlieb tweeted they hope to resume some inspections after this week marked the first inspections the agency had to skip due to the shutdown.

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.

"We're taking steps to expand the scope of food safety surveillance inspections we're doing during the shutdown".

Furloughed workers can start applying for unemployment benefits, or search for another job - things they cannot do if they're called back to work.