Government Shutdown Halts Fda Food Inspections. Should You Worry?

Experts warn that even a short government shutdown could be a lasting problem for the already underfunded FDA. By Schuyler Velasco ,Staff writer / October 3, 2013 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington last year. The government shutdown means 45 percent of FDA’s workers are furloughed, putting most of the agency’s routine food safety inspections on hold. Susan Walsh/AP/File Enlarge When it comes to the government shutdown, there are plenty of things to feel gloomy and alarmed over. One of the more attention-getting work stoppages so far has been at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), where 45 percent of employees have been sent home and many of the agencys day-to-day activities, most notably food safety inspections, are on hold until the budget impasse is over. The Christian Science Monitor Weekly Digital Edition So, 91 percent of seafood that Americans consume, which the United States imports, is not being inspected, currently. The same goes for the nearly 50 percent of fruits and 20 percent of vegetables consumed in the US but imported from abroad. And though many of inspections here in the US are still being carried out through state and local agencies, reporting any problems encountered at the federal level could be difficult. Detection [of problems] wont be the issue,” says Neal Hooker, a professor of food policy at the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at Ohio State University in Columbus.Management of, say, a product recall, and helping local public-health agencies work more effectively, those parts will be harder to do. The government shutdown has closed down a large part of the FDA, and its food monitoring activities in particular. FDA will be unable to support the majority of its food safety, nutrition, and cosmetics activities, reads a Health and Human Services memo detailing a contingency plan in the case of a government funding stoppage. FDA will also have to cease safety activities such as routine establishment inspections, some compliance and enforcement activities, monitoring of imports, notification programs, and the majority of the laboratory research necessary to inform public health decision-making. RECOMMENDED: Government shutdown quiz The FDA will maintain certain emergency services during the shutdown, including managing high-risk food recalls and other critical public health issues, per the memo. But the lack of routine health inspections, and the management oversight of more routine food supply hiccups that the FDA deals with on a day-to-day basis begs two questions: Is the countrys food supply safe without the FDA, and will its temporary shuttering have any lasting effect beyond the government shutdown? Food-safety advocates worry that even a short-term lapse in the FDAs activities could be a notable setback for the agency. The FDA, in partnership with the states, inspects about 80 facilities a day, and theyre not sending people to do those routine inspections, says Caroline Smith DeWaal , the food safety director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group based in Washington. She notes that individual state agencies, which actually conduct a large portion of inspections, will continue operating, but its unclear how long they can go on without federal oversight and the fees the FDA pays such agencies to conduct inspections on its behalf.

Global Food and Drinks Specialists Market Size and Forecast to 2017

Data sets are provided for 2007 through to 2017, with actuals being provided for 2012. All initial market sizing and analysis is conducted in local currency in order to ensure that local trends are reflected in the data before conversion into other currencies. What are the key drivers behind recent market changes? Consumers have been reacting to the effects of the global recession including the following recovery period on their discretionary spending and retail markets have been no exception. While the country by country market changes have varied, nowhere has been left totally untouched. This report quantitatively examines the components of change in the market by looking at historic and future growth patterns including how changes in consumers’ behaviour have affected the retail sector for different product categories through Food and Drinks Specialists. What makes this report unique and essential to read? This report provides detailed data on the size and development of retail sales of individual product types through Food and Drinks Specialists globally. It provides a detailed and comprehensive quantitative analysis of the trends affecting market development through both historic and forecast data. Key Features and Benefits Detailed category coverage is provided, covering 25 products, across eight product groups that include: Apparel, Accessories and Luxury Goods, Books, News and Stationery, Electricals and Electronics, Food and Grocery, Furniture and Floor Coverings, Home and Garden Products, Music, Video and Entertainment Software, and Sports and Leisure Equipment. Forecasts allow marketers to understand the future pattern of market trends, from winners and losers to category dynamics, and thereby quickly and easily identify the key areas in which they want to compete in the future. Key Highlights The top five EU nations: France, Germany, Russia, Italy, and Spain accounted for more than half of European retail sales through the channel in 2012. Their combined share is expected to decline by 2017.