Saturday, 19 January, 2019

How the government shutdown is impacting food inspections

A man shops for vegetables beside Romaine lettuce stocked and for sale at a supermarket in Los Angeles California FDA: Shutdown Means We're Not Doing 'Important Things' Like Inspections
Laurie Berry | 12 January, 2019, 20:14

Based on legal guidance from the 2013 government shutdown, Gottlieb says that FDA "could not conduct regular food inspections during a funding shortfall".

The Food and Drug Administration has postponed routine domestic food safety inspections of many high-risk foods this week due to the ongoing partial government shutdown, the agency's commissioner said Wednesday. About a third of those 160 weekly inspections involve facilities that the agency considers "high risk", Gottlieb added. The FDA regulates about 75 percent of the US food supply.

Routine inspections of lower-risk facilities that work with products like baked goods will still be suspended, though that will not impact inspections that are for cause or as part of a larger outbreak investigation.

As a result of the shutdown, FDA is not conducting routine inspections of domestic food processing facilities.

The FDA oversees about three-quarters of the food supply, including packaged foods and produce.

He said about a third inspections are at places that handle high-risk foods.

The agency said all imported foods will continue to be inspected and that critical functions, such as monitoring for food poisoning outbreaks, remain up and running.

Saudi Arabia announces higher oil reserves after audit
Saudi Arabia , the world´s top oil exporter, is the third biggest crude producer after the United States and Russian Federation . Aramco's cost of production is a mere $4 a barrel, he said, giving a rare insight into a key metric not usually disclosed.

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

Just a year ago, the agency and the CDC helped pinpoint an outbreak of to romaine lettuce and track breakfast cereal that sickened some people with salmonella.

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

Still, Sarah Sorscher, deputy director of regulatory affairs at nonprofit advocacy group The Center for Science in the Public Interest, called the missed inspections unacceptable.

"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 agency pays for medical manufacturing and food safety inspections out of its own budget.

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