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  FDA’s routine food inspections halted amid government shutdown
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ContributorRP 
Last EditedRP  Jan 10, 2019 08:46am
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AuthorBeth Mole
News DateWednesday, January 9, 2019 09:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionWith hundreds of food inspectors furloughed in the ongoing government shutdown, the Food and Drug Administration has suspended all routine inspections of domestic food processing facilities. That’s according to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who revealed the news in an interview with the Washington Post published Wednesday.

Gottlieb said that the agency, which oversees about 80 percent of the food supply, is continuing to surveil foreign manufacturers and imported food, as well as any domestic producers involved in a current recall or outbreak.

But the agency is skipping the 160-or-so routine food inspections it usually performs each week. In those evaluations, FDA inspectors assess manufacturing practices at food-processing facilities, as well as check for unsanitary conditions, such as infestations, and contamination issues. About a third of those 160 weekly inspections involve facilities that the agency considers “high risk,” Gottlieb added. High-risk facilities are those that either handle foods particularly vulnerable to safety issues, such as soft cheeses and seafood, or facilities that have a track record of food safety problems.
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