Trump shuts down FDA safety inspections on nation's entire food supply

Americans are just beginning to figure out what exactly the government shutdown is meaning to them. If you're a federal worker, not receiving a paycheck is the most obvious, but now it looks like the nation's food supply is also at risk.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb spoke with NBC News and said that they are being forced to stop doing food safety inspections.

“There’s no question of whether it’s business as usual at FDA,” he said.

“It’s not business as usual, and we are not doing all the things we would do under normal circumstances. There are important things we are not doing.”

This means FDA inspectors are no longer looking for salmonella in breakfast cereal, E. coli in romaine lettuce, or listeria in ice cream.

The FDA isn't conducting any of its domestic food facility inspections at the moment but Gottlieb says that they are trying to put together a plan to resume inspections for facilities that are currently "high-risk."

The agency usually conducts around 160 routine inspections every week, the Post reported.

In order for inspections to kick back into gear Gottlieb said that he would have to call back around 10 percent of the inspection force without pay.

“It’s something we currently aren’t doing. I think it’s the right thing to do for public safety.”

CSPI’s (The Center for Science in the Public Interest) Deputy Director of Regulatory Affairs Sarah Sorscher says that workers not having a paycheck is a major issue.

“We are concerned about the strain on employees and morale."
“We don’t want the person inspecting our meat for disease and feces to be distracted by not being able to pay their bills. It is also very hard to get qualified people to work in a slaughterhouse, and many inspectors have advanced food safety or veterinary degrees and could get better-paying jobs elsewhere but choose to work for the government because of the sense of mission and stability,” she added.

“This shutdown could have long-term impacts on our workforce.”