FDA’s Routine Food Safety Inspections Disrupted By Shutdown Following A Year Marked By High-Profile Outbreaks
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, however, said that high-risk food surveillance inspections will resume soon. The shutdown's impact is being felt across many sectors, including drug approvals, pollution inspections, and approval of mergers such as the CVS-Aetna deal.
The Associated Press:
Routine Food Inspections Halted By US Government Shutdown
Routine food inspections aren't getting done because of the partial government shutdown, but checks of the riskiest foods are expected to resume next week, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday. The agency said it's working to bring back about 150 employees to inspect riskier foods such as cheese, infant formula and produce. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the agency can't make the case that "a routine inspection of a Nabisco cracker facility" is necessary during the shutdown, however. (1/9)
The New York Times:
Government Shutdown Curtails F.D.A. Food Inspections
F.D.A. inspectors normally examine operations at about 160 domestic manufacturing and food processing plants each week. Nearly one-third of them are considered to be at high risk of causing food-borne illnesses. Food-borne diseases in the United States send about 128,000 people to the hospital each year, and kill 3,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Domestic meat and poultry are still being inspected by staff at the Agriculture Department, but they are going without pay. The F.D.A. oversees about 80 percent of the nation’s food supply, as well as most overseas imports. (Kaplan, 1/9)
The Washington Post:
FDA Food Inspections, Reduced By Shutdown Furloughs, Put 'Food Supply At Risk'
Food inspections are just one of the public health and safety efforts that have been cut or curtailed during the shutdown, now deep into its third week. The federal government also keeps airplanes from colliding, inspects pharmaceutical drugs, pursues criminals and defends against possible terrorist and cyberattacks. It is a 24-7-365 effort to make Americans safer.But a shutdown upends the calculus of risk management as agencies including the FBI, Coast Guard, Secret Service, FDA, Federal Aviation Administration and Agriculture Department face drastically reduced resources. (McGinley and Achenbach, 1/9)
U.S. Government Says Shutdown May Slow Resolution Of CVS/Aetna Court Process
The Justice Department has said in a court filing that a partial government shutdown could delay its response to comments on pharmacy chain CVS Health Corp's purchase of health insurer Aetna, a necessary step in a court giving final approval to the deal. Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has been reviewing a consent decree reached by the government and the companies in October to allow their $69 billion merger. The deal has closed, although Judge Leon has required that some aspects of integration be halted during the review process. (1/9)
The Washington Post:
How Food Stamps, Housing Subsidies And Other Programs For Americans In Need Will Be Hit By Shutdown
The waterlogged ceiling of Betty Gay’s rural Kentucky home sags so low that she hits her head on the light fixture. She’s only 5-foot-1. When it rains, the retired nurse’s aide covers her bathroom floor with buckets and towels. Mold festers on the damp walls. Gay, 70, was counting on a $20,000 loan from the Agriculture Department this winter to patch the hole in the roof of the ranch-style Mount Sterling home she’s lived in for 30 years. But the money is on hold. (Jan and Wan, 1/9)
The New York Times:
Shutdown Means E.P.A. Pollution Inspectors Aren’t On The Job
The two-week-old shutdown has halted one of the federal government’s most important public health activities, the inspections of chemical factories, power plants, oil refineries, water treatment plants, and thousands of other industrial sites for pollution violations. The Environmental Protection Agency has furloughed most of its roughly 600 pollution inspectors and other workers who monitor compliance with environmental laws. (Davenport, 1/9)
Trump Storms Out Of Talks On Shutdown, Bemoans 'Total Waste Of Time'
U.S. President Donald Trump stormed out of talks with Democratic congressional leaders on Wednesday over funding for a border wall with Mexico and reopening the government, complaining the meeting at the White House was "a total waste of time." On the 19th day of a partial government shutdown caused by the dispute over the wall, a short meeting that included Trump, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer ended in acrimony with no sign of a resolution. (1/10)