Economy

Most FDA food inspections not happening under government shutdown

Most FDA food inspections not happening under government shutdown

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the agency can't make the case that "a routine inspection of a Nabisco cracker facility" is necessary during the shutdown, however.

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.

One sign of FDA enforcement are the warning letters sent if problems are found during inspections.

Based on legal guidance from the 2013 government shutdown, Gottlieb says that FDA "could not conduct regular food inspections during a funding shortfall". Food facility inspections are among many government risk management activities that have been put on hold since the shutdown occurred three weeks ago. "But there are 80k food facilities in the U.S.", Helena Bottemiller Evich, an agriculture reporter for Politico, noted. Sampling of some foods such as frozen berries for contamination has also continued, Gottlieb said.

"The FDA is still reportedly inspecting foreign manufacturers and producers involved in recalls or outbreaks".

Late previous year, an E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce sickened more than 60 people.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s ex-husband Chris Martin joined her on ‘very modern honeymoon’
Not many people would label Gwyneth Paltrow as having an embarrassing disposition, but her teenage daughter would beg to differ. She added, wryly, "you could do zucchini with Nomato sauce and cashew cheese, and then watch me commit suicide".

Sarah Sorscher, deputy director of regulatory affairs at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said the FDA's short-term lapse in routine food inspections isn't a cause for worry, but will be if the shutdown continues.

"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.

The commissioner said he was working to bring back 150 inspectors as early as next week who have been furloughed during the shutdown, according to both The New York Times and The Washington Post.

She said a long shutdown could hinder the FDA's work on implementing new food safety standards.

But the agency is skipping the 160-or-so routine food inspections it usually performs each week.


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