The FDA had to cut down food inspections during the shutdown.
An estimated 41% of FDA’s 17,000 employees are currently furloughed. The agency has had to focus its limited resources on top priority projects. Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said inspection on incoming foreign foods will continue — but domestic food inspections have. This includes high-risk items like soft cheese, fruits, and seafood.
Despite the shutdown, the FDA, with the support of the CDC, will continue looking into an e. Coli outbreak in romaine lettuce. An e. Coli outbreak sickened 91 people in the U.S. and Canada. To keep priority inspections going, some workers will have to work without pay — joining an estimated 800,000 federal employees that are now working without pay during the shutdown.
Many of them have shared their stories with the hashtag #ShutdownStories. They are also asking for donations via GoFundMe, which a reported 700 accounts related to the shutdown. Thankfully television personalities like Jimmy Kimmel and companies like fast food chain Fazoli’s are offering some help to furloughed federal workers.
The longest-lasting government shutdown occurred in 1995 under President Clinton, which lasted 21 days. If the current shutdown lasts through January 12, it will become the longest ever.
Recently, the president left a meeting with congressional leaders who refused to finance his proposed border wall.