The Effect Of The Government Shutdown On Food Safety

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The Effect Of The Government Shutdown On Food Safety

The recent U.S. government shutdown has already had an impact on many federal employees, including those at the FDA and CDC. We've all been hearing on the news, and various other media outlets, of the impact on employees, many of who have been 'furloughed,' or placed on temporary unpaid leave. While this has definitely impacted employees' families, it also impacts food safety for the rest of us. How? According to an article at Food Quality News, nearly half of the employees with the FDA have been furloughed, while almost 70% of employees with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be affected. What services are still ongoing within the FDA? The agency will continue to handle high-risk recalls, import entry review, and maintaining critical consumer protection to deal with emergencies, however the FDA will not perform routine establishment inspections or monitor imports. Other activities affected by the shutdown are food contact substance and infant formula notification programs, and compliance and enforcement. The article also indicates that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) will not be able to support infectious disease surveillance or outbreak detection, although the agency will operate under a decreased capacity to process laboratory samples, and respond to investigation of outbreaks in an effort to protect U.S. citizens' health and well-being. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is also impacted by the government shutdown, furloughing more than 1,200 employees and continuing inspections of poultry, meat, and egg products. Ultimately, any outbreaks of food contamination will be more difficult for the government to identify and respond to, and potentially contaminated products are more likely to slip through the system and make it to consumers. Markem-Imaje is a world-wide leader in industrial traceability solutions, providing manufacturers around the globe with the highest quality industrial printing equipment including laser and thermal printers, inkjet printing solutions, inks, and more.

January 10, 2014
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