According to Politico’s Morning Agriculture newsletter, a USDA spokesperson says the agency has a contingency plan that’s “very similar” to what’s been used in past shutdowns.
USDA: If the federal government shutters, most food-safety inspectors stay on the job. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has food safety inspectors stationed at all meat and poultry plants, considers its inspectors essential.
A USDA spokesperson says the agency has a contingency plan that’s “very similar” to what’s been used in past shutdowns. Department workers would also continue to inspect imported and exported food and eggs. Forest Service law enforcement and responses to emergency and natural disaster would continue as well.
FDA: The Food and Drug Administration, which oversees the safety of roughly 80 percent of the country’s food supply, referred all questions about shutdown plans to Office of Management and Budget, but sources briefed on the issue say there’s a contingency plan. The FDA, which regulates everything from drugs to cosmetics, would keep about half of its workforce on the job.
The FDA doesn’t conduct food-safety inspections nearly as frequently as the USDA does; routine inspections of food plants would likely be put on pause during a shutdown. That could raise consumer worries if the hiatus were to last more than a few days.