Most food inspections halted by FDA amid U.S. government shutdown

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday it is scaling back on inspections amid the government shutdown.

In a release, the government agency explained that it can’t carry on some of its mandate amid a lapse in funds as the shutdown carries on for a third week. CNN reported that 41 per cent of the FDA is currently unable to work.

“All our work is important, but only some of our work is permitted to continue during a lapse in funding,” the release read.

It explained that some food and drug inspections will be halted, but the agency will still respond to emergencies such as foodborne illness outbreaks, recalls, and investigating other imminent health risks.

FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb explained on Twitter that the agency typically does about 160 food inspections per week, but only one third of those are considered high risk.

Some high-risk products include certain types of canned food, seafood, custard-filled bakery products and dairy products. It also includes unpasteurized juices, fruits and vegetables, prepared salads, infant formula and medical products.

The FDA will also still be screening food and medical products that are imported from other countries.

Other agencies under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — as well other other government operations — are affected by the shutdown.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump has said the government shutdown will stay in place until his demand for border wall funding is fulfilled.

— With files from Reuters

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