The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has released a statement about the possibility of a government shutdown and the risks it would pose to food safety in the U.S.
As of September 28, 2023, the U.S. Senate and House have continued to push conflicting government funding plans, increasing the chances of a federal shutdown. Congress has until September 30 at midnight to pass legislation that President Joe Biden can sign into law to avoid halting a range of services, including food safety inspections.
According to CSPI, although U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) meat and poultry inspections are considered “essential” and will keep carrying out their work in the event of a shutdown, the same cannot be said for U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) activities. FDA ensures the safety of all foods that are not meat or poultry, from infant formula to processed foods and beyond.
If a shutdown were to occur, only “essential” FDA activities like foodborne illness outbreak investigations will be allowed to continue. Routine inspections that prevent food safety incidents from happening will be halted or curtailed, escalating the chances of food contamination or other hazards impacting public health.
CSPI urges the House to support the bipartisan continuing resolution advancing in the Senate, which would at least keep the government open through mid-November.