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Food inspections reduced during shutdown

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WASHINGTON D.C. (ABC4 News)- As the government shutdown continues American’s safety is threatened because the FDA has stopped food safety inspections.

Jaydee Hanson with the Center for Food Safety says that raises concerns about food-borne illnesses – like E.Coli and Salmonella

“To stop inspections all together is irresponsible and the government needs to do the right thing,” Hanson said. “The big concern are the 40 or 50 microorganisms that can get you seriously ill.”

Senator Tammy Baldwin says this shutdown has created another crisis for the American people.

“Just shows how important these functions are–that parts of the government that are closed right now, that on a routine basis save lives,” Baldwin said.

In the United States, the FDA typically performs nearly 160 domestic food inspections each week. One-third of the those are at high-risk facilities.

“In the United States 3,000 people a year dying from bad food, if that’s not a national emergency – I don’t know what is,” Hanson said.

She said the good news is the most at risk products like meats, and chickens are still being inspected by the USDA, while fish and shellfish – are still being inspected by the FDA.

“We’re of the position that the rest of the things that can make you sick and kill you- including lettuce now – still needs to be inspected, this needs to be as much as a priority as keeping the planes flying and keeping the roads open,” said Hanson.

But without federal funding the FDA’s routine food inspection can’t be scheduled as usual.

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