Caroline Smith DeWaal is food safety director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit watchdog and consumer advocacy group.
This week, a mother called us about her child hospitalized with a Salmonella poisoning from his day care's chicken lunch. The child's condition was tenuous, with a blood infection, and treatment was especially challenging as the bacteria was antibiotic resistant.
The mom turned to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, for information and help because key government's public health agencies and websites are shut down. Does this have an impact on food safety? You betcha!
When the shutdown began, the Food and Drug Administration announced it would have to halt most of its food safety activities, including routine inspections of food manufacturers and monitoring of imports. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shuttered some of its key activities, including outbreak detection and infectious-disease surveillance. The U.S. Department of Agriculture kept its meat, poultry and egg inspectors on the job, but furloughed more than 1,200 other food safety workers.
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