The partial government shutdown began on Dec. 22, 2018, when Congress was not able to reach a settlement with President Donald Trump for building a southern border wall. Ever since Trump has long endorsed to have a wall built with Mexico, (which he highlighted during the 2016 campaign) Republicans on Capitol Hill never was fully on board with the plan. And now, they are less likely to round up the votes in favor of it after losing the House majority in the November 2018 election.
President Trump has refused his Democratic opponents’ agreement of $1.6 billion to fund border security. Due to this reason, an estimated 800,000 federal employees has been put on unpaid leave. Federal agencies that were affected include:
- Airport Security
- Parks and Museums
- Science, Research, and Public Health
- Food Inspections and Aid
- Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Veterans Affairs
- Law Enforcement and the Judiciary
- Criminal Investigations
- Internal Revenue Service
- Violence Against Women Act
How Food Safety Is Affected
The partial government shutdown has adversely impacted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s food safety efforts.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is run by the health department, whose mission is to:
“be responsible for protecting public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices; and by ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation”.
The USA Today reported the FDA’s claims that it cannot keep track of as many “routine regulatory and compliance activities,” due to the shutdown. This will affect a variety of agency functions which include monitoring outbreaks, publicizing recalls, and regulating food inspections. Since no future date has been set to end the shutdown, public concerns heighten due to their fear of a food-borne illness outbreak. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food-borne diseases in the United States kill 3,000 people annually and send an estimated128,000 people to the hospital.