Some of our national news currently is focused on the lack of food inspections as a result of the government shutdown. The Food and Drug Administration has stopped routine food safety inspections of processing facilities for seafood, fruits, vegetables and many other foods, according to Dr. Scott Gottlieb, FDA commissioner. FDA inspectors conduct about 8,000 inspections of food manufacturing facilities across the U.S. each year. And the FDA reportedly oversees about 80% of the nation’s food supply, as well as most overseas imports. The remaining 20% of the nation’s food supply is under USDA inspection: meat, poultry and ‘cracked’ egg production.
What does this mean for those of us living in Wisconsin? Wisconsin has it’s own robust food safety inspection program, staffed by food safety sanitarians working across the state. Inspectors working for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) conduct anywhere from 600-800 inspections each year of food and dairy processing facilities within the state. Additional inspectors are working to inspect dairy farms, and still others are working every day in our state’s 300+ state-inspected meat and poultry processing facilities. And many other inspectors are working at the local level to help ensure that food prepared in restaurants and available at grocery stores and other retail outlets remains safe for Wisconsin consumers.
State-administered food and meat inspection programs are continuing to operate, even with the federal government shut-down.
Nationally, USDA meat inspection is considered a ‘critical function’ and has not ceased, despite the government shut-down.
It might ease some concerns knowing that much of the food and meat processed in Wisconsin is inspected by DATCP employees or local agents and not affected by the current shut-down. Safe eating! Barb