One of the many repercussions of President Trump's government shutdown is that much of the food we purchase every day now is not being inspected because hundreds of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspectors have been furloughed and aren't on the job.
The agency, which oversees 80 percent of the food supply, has suspended all routine inspections of domestic food-processing facilities, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told The Washington Post.
He said hopes to bring back inspectors next week to resume inspections of high-risk facilities, which handle foods like soft cheese or seafood, or have a history of problems.
“We are doing what we can to mitigate any risk to consumers through the shutdown,” Gottlieb said.
"That puts our food supply at risk,” Sarah Sorscher, deputy director of regulatory affairs at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told The Post. “Regular inspections, which help stop foodborne illness before people get sick, are vital.”
Foodborne illness sickens 48 million people each year and kills 3,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The FDA typically conducts about 160 routine food inspections a week in the United States, with about a third involving high-risk processing facilities, Gottlieb told The Post.
Slashing food inspections and putting more people at risk of contracting food borne illness is just one more aspect of the government shutdown that is endangering our lives.
Air traffic controllers, Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) agents, Border Patrol agents, the FBI, Coast Guard, Secret Service, Federal Aviation Administration and Agriculture Department all face drastically reduced resources -- and they all keep us safe in one way or another.
None, of this, of course speaks to the direct human cost of the #TrumpShutdown on the 800,000 government employee who are not being paid, or the contractors, suppliers and related businesses that are suffering.
This is not right. This is not what these folks signed up for when they took their jobs with Uncle Sam. And we don't need people getting sick from food poisoning because Trump demands his wall.
This needs to end.