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FDA inspections impacted by government shutdown

Posted: 5:13 PM, Jan 10, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-10 22:50:45Z
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TAMPA, Fla. — The food you put on your dinner table right now may not be getting properly inspected thanks to the government shutdown.

"We're taking steps to expand the scope of food safety surveillance inspections we're doing during the shutdown to make sure we continue inspecting high risk food facilities. 31% of our inventory of domestic inspections are considered high risk," the FDA posted to Twitter.

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Still, fears are mounting with recent recalls.

"You think about the Romaine outbreak, that was actually the second one. There were two in a row with lettuce that had been major outbreak’s,” said Dr. Jill Roberts, and Assistant professor at USF College of Public Health.

She says the FDA has become very proactive inspecting facilities and catching things often times before they make it into a consumers shopping cart.

"If those inspectors are not there what happens?” she asked.

"We assess risk based on an overall, cross-cutting risk profile. The primary factors contributing to a facility’s risk profile include: the type of food, the manufacturing process, and the compliance history of the facility,” said Scott Gottlieb , 23rd Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The high risk foods include things like canned goods, seafood, dairy products and fresh fruits and vegetables and more.

Dr. Roberts says it’s also about making sure the production line is safe.

"When you walk into a facility, what are the workers doing? Are they coughing? Are they doing this with their sleeves? In which case they’re sick,” she said.

And as the shutdown continues she thinks employees may be tempted to leave.

"We don’t want to discourage these folks. The work they do is extremely important. We tend not to appreciate them until we see the fallout of these kinds of things,” said Roberts.

Some food producers do their own safety inspections, and the FDA says it will announce recalls when notified.

Click here to see what else the FDA inspects.