FDA Suspends Food Safety Inspections During Government Shutdown

If you’ve been wondering about all the ways the government shutdown is affecting your life (besides tax refunds), then you may be surprised to learn that the FDA can’t perform its job to the fullest.

You know all those food recall announcements we share with you? Well, food inspections have pretty much been on hold. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the FDA’s commissioner, spoke to the press about how operations have halted for food safety inspections of seafood, produce, and other products.

This is primarily for domestic food producers and if, how, and when foodborne illnesses are detected in the food supply. Dr. Gottlieb tweeted that they plan to ask 150 furloughed workers to return to the job so the agency can resume semi-normal duties, but it will be without pay.

As it stands, the FDA has not stopped their inspections of foreign products, nor have they discontinued monitoring domestic producers who have a track record of problems. Additionally, the Department of Agriculture continues to handle inspections for meat and poultry, but those workers are also going without pay.

One thing Gottlieb is considering is whether bringing furloughed employees in will cause them financial hardship (travel expenses, etc.), so he is working to figure out the best plan to restore FDA processes. In the meantime, he stated that some of the foods that might have a higher risk for contamination are cheese and produce items.

For now, most inspections are being left up to individual companies to conduct and they can alert the FDA of any issues. The agency will make announcements for voluntary recalls as usual.

Hear more by clicking on the video below and let us know what you think!


Did you realize the FDA was experiencing some strain? Will you be cautious when buying food?


Washington Post