Remember Romaine? Shutdown Forces FDA to Dramatically Reduce Food Inspection

Remember walking into your local supermarket a few weeks ago and seeing empty shelves where the romaine lettuce used to be sold? And even when it came back, were you hesitant to buy it, because, who knows?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees 80 percent of the U.S. food supply, but under the GOP shutdown hundreds of food inspectors have been furloughed.

That means "all routine inspections of domestic food-processing facilities" have been suspended, according to The Washington Post, which just interviewed FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

“We are doing what we can to mitigate any risk to consumers through the shutdown,” Gottlieb told the Post.

He also "said he’s working on a plan to bring back inspectors as early as next week to resume inspections of high-risk facilities, which handle foods such as soft cheese or seafood, or have a history of problems."

The CDC says food-borne illness kills 3000 people in the U.S. annually, and sickens a whopping 48 million people each year.


Image by Cory Doctorow via Flickr and a CC license

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