Government Shutdown Halts Fda Food Inspections. Should You Worry?

OCT. 3 BEER DINNER: Three-course, tailgate-themed menu paired with beer from Oskar Blues Brewery. 6:30 p.m. $45, not including tax and gratuity. Wildfire, Tysons Galleria, Third Floor, 1714 International Dr., McLean. 703-442-9110. www.wildfirerestaurant.com/mclean . BOOK EVENT: Cookbook launch for A Caribbean Moms Table, by Dorel Callender, including tasting. Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States, 19th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. 4-5:30 p.m. Free. 202-722-4218. www.ncaffa.org .

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FDA will also have to cease safety activities such as routine establishment inspections, some compliance and enforcement activities, monitoring of imports, notification programs, and the majority of the laboratory research necessary to inform public health decision-making. RECOMMENDED: Government shutdown quiz The FDA will maintain certain emergency services during the shutdown, including managing high-risk food recalls and other critical public health issues, per the memo. But the lack of routine health inspections, and the management oversight of more routine food supply hiccups that the FDA deals with on a day-to-day basis begs two questions: Is the countrys food supply safe without the FDA, and will its temporary shuttering have any lasting effect beyond the government shutdown? Food-safety advocates worry that even a short-term lapse in the FDAs activities could be a notable setback for the agency. The FDA, in partnership with the states, inspects about 80 facilities a day, and theyre not sending people to do those routine inspections, says Caroline Smith DeWaal , the food safety director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group based in Washington. She notes that individual state agencies, which actually conduct a large portion of inspections, will continue operating, but its unclear how long they can go on without federal oversight and the fees the FDA pays such agencies to conduct inspections on its behalf. The inspections themselves arent the biggest issue, says Dr. Hooker. Its not that every plant is expecting to have a visit, in the immediate future, he notes; depending on the type of food facility, some establishments are inspected as infrequently as every three to five years. Youre reducing the probability of an inspection by such a tiny number. Theres no long-lived impact other than the number of inspections in that queue. I dont know that in the short term there would be much impact. Plus, some inspections will continue. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will continue to monitor meat and poultry production during the shutdown, because those facilities cant lawfully operate without a USDA inspector present. And the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations seafood inspection program, which is funded through service fees and not government appropriations, is still up and running.

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