FDA Suspends Routine Inspections Amid Shutdown

The shutdown has “sharply” reduced the number of inspections conducted by the Food and Drug Administration, The Washington Post reports. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told the newspaper the agency had to suspend all of its routine inspections of food-processing facilities as hundreds of inspectors have been furloughed during the government shutdown. Under normal circumstances, the agency reportedly conducts about 160 food inspections weekly—with about a third of those inspections involving “high-risk processing facilities.” Since the shutdown, Gottlieb has reportedly cancelled over 50 high-risk inspections. “We are doing what we can to mitigate any risk to consumers through the shutdown,” Gottlieb said, adding that he was working to bring back inspectors to cover high-risk facilities as early as next week. The FDA, which is responsible for overseeing 80 percent of the U.S. food supply, reportedly receives 40 percent of its funding through appropriations approved by Congress.