Unpaid FDA Workers Restart ‘High Risk’ Food Inspections
After a year that saw the most Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) food safety investigations in at least 12 years, one of the most frightening impacts of the ongoing government shutdown has been the suspension of routine food safety investigations by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Now it looks like America's eaters can rest a little easier. FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb announced on Twitter Monday that FDA employees had stepped up to do some important food inspection work unpaid.
"We re-starting high risk food inspections as early as tomorrow," Gottlieb wrote.
This work is being done by an inspectorate that's largely going unpaid. These men and women are the tip of the spea… https://t.co/piBTFckh3c— Scott Gottlieb, M.D. (@Scott Gottlieb, M.D.)1547501729.0
'High risk' foods include soft cheeses, sea food, custard-filled baked goods, some fruits and vegetables and baby formula, The New York Times reported. Lower risk foods include non-custard-filled baked goods, according to NBC.
Gottlieb told NBC last week he would attempt to recall about 10 percent of the food inspectors who had been furloughed since the government shutdown began December 22.
"We got an overwhelming response from our very dedicated and mission-driven field force who are coming back to work unpaid," he told NBC.
The FDA is responsible for inspecting food-producing facilities. It usually conducts about 160 inspections a month with a team of 5,000 inspectors. Gottlieb said about 700 were returning to work. In addition to restarting high-risk inspections today, the FDA also began sampling high-risk imported produce in the Northeast region on Monday, Gottlieb tweeted. The agency will also restart drug inspections.
"By next week we will have restarted all the medical product inspections that weren't covered by user fees that were shut down," he told NBC. "That includes things like compounding inspections."
Recalled workers will also assist with the monitoring of food-caused disease outbreaks, The New York Times reported.
Meanwhile, inspections of meat and some egg products, which fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have continued throughout the shutdown thanks to unpaid workers. Congress mandates that these inspections never cease, NBC reported.
Gottlieb told The New York Times that the shutdown had not interfered with many scheduled FDA inspections because it began over the holidays and not many inspections were scheduled for the second week of January. As the shutdown wore on, Gottlieb got permission from the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services to recall some employees, about 40 percent of whom had been furloughed.
About a third of FDA inspections involve high risk food, Gottlieb told The New York Times. The FDA is responsible for monitoring around 80 percent of the U.S. food supply, as well as international imports. It is responsible for some 80,000 food plants, inspecting around 10 percent each year.
- Lettuce Recall Is a Wake Up Call for Food Safety - EcoWatch ›
- Routine FDA Food Inspections Suspended by Shutdown - EcoWatch ›
By Grayson Jaggers
The connection between the pandemic and our dietary habits is undeniable. The stress of isolation coupled with a struggling economy has caused many of us to seek comfort with our old friends: Big Mac, Tom Collins, Ben and Jerry. But overindulging in this kind of food and drink might not just be affecting your waistline, but could potentially put you at greater risk of illness by hindering your immune system.
- 15 Indigenous Crops to Boost Your Immune System and Celebrate ... ›
- 15 Supplements to Boost Your Immune System Right Now - EcoWatch ›
- Should I Exercise During the Coronavirus Pandemic? Experts ... ›
- The Immune System's Fight Against the Coronavirus - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
As the world continues to navigate the line between reopening and maintaining safety protocols to slow the spread of the coronavirus, rapid and accurate diagnostic screening remains critical to control the outbreak. New mobile-phone-based, self-administered COVID-19 tests being developed independently around the world could be a key breakthrough in making testing more widely available, especially in developing nations.
- FDA Approves First In-Home Test for Coronavirus - EcoWatch ›
- When Should You Get a COVID-19 or Antibody Test? - EcoWatch ›
- Trump Plans to End Federal Funding for COVID-19 Testing Sites ... ›
- Trump Insider Embeds Climate Denial Into Agency Reports ... ›
- Climate Denier Is Named to Leadership Role at NOAA - EcoWatch ›
New Jersey is one step closer to passing what environmental advocates say is the strongest anti-plastic legislation in the nation.
Did you know that nearly 30% of adults do, or will, suffer from a sleep condition at some point in their life? Anyone who has experienced disruptions in their sleep is familiar with the havoc that it can wreak on your body and mind. Lack of sleep, for one, can lead to anxiety and lethargy in the short-term. In the long-term, sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Fortunately, there are proven natural supplements that can reduce insomnia and improve quality sleep for the better. CBD oil, in particular, has been scientifically proven to promote relaxing and fulfilling sleep. Best of all, CBD is non-addictive, widely available, and affordable for just about everyone to enjoy. For these very reasons, we have put together a comprehensive guide on the best CBD oil for sleep. Our goal is to provide objective, transparent information about CBD products so you are an informed buyer.