Routine food inspections halted by United States government shutdown

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After that, new drugs won't get assessed by the agency unless the government reopens.

Gottlieb told the paper that a plan is being developed to return some inspectors to the job to resume reviews of what the agency sees as high-risk facilities that have problem histories or those which handle items like soft cheese or seafood, the Post reported. "They all go on as usual, despite the federal shutdown".

"FDA's professional staff remain fully dedicated to our mission", Gottlieb said in a tweet Wednesday.

The partial government shutdown has been going since December 22 with no sign of a compromise.

The FDA oversees about 80 percent of America's food supply and many overseas imports, and helps counter food-borne diseases that send about 128,000 people to the hospital each year, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency announced this week that romaine is safe to eat after concerns about E. Coli, though they are still investigating the cause of the outbreak.

Gottlieb said he's considering recalling 10 percent of the food inspection team because it's "the right thing to do for public safety".

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"The shutdown hit day 19 [on 9 January], as White House negotiators and Democratic leaders continue to dig their heels in over President Trump's demand for more than $5 billion in border wall funding".

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a series of tweets that the agency would continue its foreign food inspections, but it was cutting down on the number of domestic inspections to ensure the ability to continue monitoring high-risk facilities.

"I think most people agree these inspections are important".

This Aug. 2, 2018, file photo shows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration building behind FDA logos at a bus stop on the agency's campus in Silver Spring, Md. "The idea that a couple weeks of no routine food inspections puts us all in danger is probably a bit of a stretch".

In a typical week, FDA conducts about 160 routine food inspections in the U.S. About one-third of those are high-risk food processing facilities.