FDA inspections have stopped, thanks to government shutdown

A worker packs cheese curds into wheels at Vella Cheese in Sonoma

A worker packs cheese curds into wheels at Vella Cheese in Sonoma

Gottlieb said on January 5 that the agency has enough left over funds to keep reviewing drugs and other medical products for about a month.

As you probably recall, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is part of the US federal government.

Gottlieb also tweeted that the FDA is working to continue with the inspections unlike the agency did during the government shutdown in 2013. About 40% of the FDA's staff is furloughed.

"While food inspections of most of these facilities have halted due to the funding shortfall caused by the shutdown, Gottlieb says he is seeking to bring back enough workers to investigate high-risk facilities, which deal with sensitive foods such as seafood and cheese".

Additionally local grocery store representatives told KAKE News Anchor Greg Miller that food companies also perform their own inspections and tests or hire third-party companies to do so, in order to maintain quality standards. Factors that determine whether a food is more susceptible to contamination include the type of food, how it's made, and the facility's history of violations.

The FDA oversees 80 percent of the food supply in the US.

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The Agriculture Department is still inspecting meat and poultry plants in this country, but those inspectors are not being paid for their work.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which helps with tainted food outbreaks, is not affected by the partial shutdown and on Wednesday said the E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce appears to be over.

"The FDA is still reportedly inspecting foreign manufacturers and producers involved in recalls or outbreaks". Sarah Sorscher, CSPI Deputy Director of Regulatory Affairs said in a statement, "That puts our food supply at 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.

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

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