Worried About the FDA Inspection Shutdown? Eat Like You're Pregnant

Government shutdown FDA does less for food safety than you probably think

Shutdown Limits FDA Efforts to Protect Food Safety

Gottlieb also revealed that the agency will resume scheduling inspections of "high risk" foods-like infant formula, seafood and prepared salads-next week. Some of the tasks which have been done by the FDA like the drug approvals and inspections, drug production facilities and the regulation of the tobacco products which are paid by the user fee. The foreign food inspectors would also be continuing to it like there the situations are normal as their involvement is regarded to be important.

FDA inspectors are responsible for 80 percent of the food supply, including seafood, canned goods, packaged good, fruits and vegetables. "That's where we are right now with FDA inspections; just substitute "years" for centuries", she says.

"It may be a few dozen but not much more", the commissioner said of the postponed inspections. At present, due to the shutdown conditions, "FDA inspectors are not looking for salmonella in breakfast cereal, E. coli in romaine lettuce, or listeria in ice cream", NBC notes. "We're taking whatever steps we can to support our colleagues as they fulfill our commitments to the American people under challenging circumstances".

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There were more than 88,000 registered food facilities in the United States in 2016, according to FDA data. They're considering bringing back some furloughed workers to start doing domestic inspections at high-risk facilities. Because inspections typically don't take place during the holidays, this is the first week that the shutdown is directly impacting the FDA.

"There's a short-term and a long-term issue", says Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, as well as author of several books on food politics. No scheduled inspections were cancelled, he said, but it is true that the FDA did not schedule any new inspections for this past week. So, as Vox's Julia Belluz puts it, the number of interrupted inspections thus represent "less than half a percent of the total inspections happening annually". "That's the real worry". The fact that the FDA is prioritizing its limited funds on these riskier foods might provide relief for some and not for others. Pregnant women are well-versed in this diet-balancing act. "We tend not to appreciate them until we see the fallout of these kinds of things", said Roberts. "That's going to be something people notice", she says.

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