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Affected by shutdown: routine food inspections from FDA

Agency plans to start inspection of high-risk foods such as seafood, dairy products, produce, and infant formula as soon as next week

Posted: Jan. 10, 2019 8:56 PM

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa - The FDA inspects around 75% of the food we get from the grocery store. But after the start of the partial federal shutdown, routine inspections of domestic food processing facilities ceased.

However, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb plans to resume reviews of high-risk foods as soon as next week, as it makes up around 31% of all domestic inspections. Imported food products will still be inspected, as well as monitoring for critical events such as food poisoning.

Despite this announcement, it doesn't sit well with those who want routine checks of all food products to restarted.

A woman, who asked to be anonymous, has been floored three times by gut-wrenching food poisoning from chicken, and now, she does her research when it comes to shopping for groceries.

"As a consumer and as a parent, you want what's best. You don't want your kids coming down with sickness or E. coli or any of that. Every step that you can take I think is a very good measure."

With the shutdown ongoing, she's hoping routine inspections resume soon.

"It's very concerning because some, even though they're keeping the strict standards, something still might fall through the cracks because they don't have enough staff to cover."

Bruce Malwitz grows a lot of his own food, but is also a regular at Randy's Neighborhood Market in Clear Lake. While he also wants regular inspections to resume, as they are a necessity, he trusts the distributors and suppliers the store uses.

"I've been shopping here for years, and haven't had a problem, outside of overeating."

Store bookkeeper and office manager Sharon McDonald trusts their vendors as well.

"We're real stringent about ours as far as the produce, we get from the same supplier and we know his product. Most of our cheeses are name brand, so they're inspected more at the factory. I don't think there's a big danger if you know the company that you're buying from."

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