The Government Shutdown May Affect Your Food Safety

The past year or two has seen its fair share of food recalls.

In August and July of 2018, there were recalls on poultry as well as beef and pork. In March, there were recalls of beef for fears of salmonella poisoning– those scares happened once again as recently as early December. While all of the examples cited were connected to meat products, waste by-products from animal agriculture have actually been known to stream downstream and contaminate produce too. The governmental body in charge of keeping consumers notified about crises like these is the Fda, or the FDA.

As it turns out, the FDA is part of the purview affected by the still continuous federal government shutdown.

As a recent article in The Hill reported, the FDA has stopped most of its regular food inspections as part of the shutdown.

While the shutdown is in effect, many FDA staff members have actually been furloughed. Needless to state, if the FDA is unable to do regular food assessments, the food supply chain in the United States could be at a higher threat of spreading out food-borne health problems to consumers. The FDA’s commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, released a statement that the agency was working on an emergency plan to avoid any increased risk to customers:

” We are doing what we can to mitigate any danger to consumers through the shutdown.”

All told, food-borne diseases generally affect around 48 million individuals in the USA a year.

Of that number, the CDC estimates that those diseases end up eliminating around 3,000 people. As part of their typical operations, the FDA typically performs approximately 160 food inspections a week in the United States, a 3rd of which are devoted to facilities with high-risk processing. While it remains uncertain what further action will be taken, Gottlieb has stated that his objective is to bring back more inspectors to make certain that they can do regular examinations as essential.

Still, there have been no conclusive or clear statements on how or if this will occur, or on what timeline.

The FDA is currently running at a minimal capacity, they will still be announcing remembers as normal.

Still, those who are worried about their food can take additional precautions to avoid contaminants in their own kitchens. Make certain to thoroughly wash all fresh veggies you purchase from the store. For an additional level of security, you can also prepare more of your veggies at high temperature levels to exterminate any extra pathogens that might be concealing on them. While raw meat products remain a food threat no matter what season you use them, you can still take preventative measures in the kitchen to make sure you do not cross-contaminate by keeping them on separate cutting boards and cooking them all the method through.

Far, the federal government has been shut down for 19 days– and negotiations to open a quarter of the government have stalled for more than two weeks.

Though we do not tend to believe so, food can also be political.

While the reason for the shutdown is a result of President Trump’s push for extra border security and a budget for a border wall, the impacts of the shutdown spread much further than that. The longest federal government shutdown in history started in December 1995 and lasted for 21 days. With the present shutdown already on day 19 with no signs of resolution, we may be on track to see the longest shutdown in United States history.

For updates on what that may mean for the FDA, be sure to read the above mentioned news sources together with our page too.

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Ryan Aliapoulios is a contributing writer at Shareably based out of Los Angeles. Find him on Twitter @rollyops.

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