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Government Shutdown is Affecting the FDA Inspection Procedure

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The effects of partial government shutdown is growing day by day. It is affecting the daily life of federal workers as well as other units they work for. No one is ready to work for free as they all cater their necessities.

It has been approximately 20 days since the shutdown has commenced. There have been several meetings between the President and the Congress but no solution has still been provided. Trump is arguing to generate $5 billion from this action plan but the hazard has not been calculated.

Due to this partial shutdown, all federal agencies have halted their work. Only few who have legally bound to work in any circumstance are working. Agencies are also making accommodation facilities for those who have difficult circumstances.

Effect on Food and Drug Administration:

Due to the partial shutdown, food and drug inspection was put to halt. But the agency is now trying to resume some of its offices which are eminent for a area. For this to happen the FDA will have to force the workers to resume their job but with no pay.

This step is essential as the quality check and adulteration needs to checked so that the public is safe. This inspection includes checking for salmonella virus in cereals, Romaine Lettuce for E. coli, listeria that is present in ice-creams and others too.

Their hasn't been any major public health hazard but as the effects can be calculated it may cause health crisis.

The Shutdown has started to cause public health crisis but FDA is trying to control the issue. Credits: Vox

Still the companies producing these goods can still be checked at their end and the agency is trying to communicate this action. But the FDA has an objective behind its existence which is at halt due to Trump’s action plan.

Foreign food and drugs inspection is working effectively as they lie under their obligation to perform their duties. But as of now, no domestic food or drug is being inspected by FDA and this raises concerns of health.

Who can stop their work during Shutdown

During the Shutdown, agencies facing financial issues have to stop their work. National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, received a good funding from the Congress in 2018 but FDA didn’t received any financial help.

Some work of the FDA such as drug inspection, regulating drug producing industries and tobacco management are contender paid jobs. So this wing of FDA is working fine as it does not need any funding. But most of the budget for FDA is regulated by the Congress and this is currently on hold.

There are about 7,000 agency’s office which includes approx 17,000 employees are furloughed. All of these are either finding other jobs to support their living or are trying to live whatever they would have saved.

The FDA currently needs 5,000 employees back which includes inspector as well as other workers for their assistance and smooth functioning for the workflow. They would be conducting 160 inspection per month. But the main issue is of the salary. A inspection inspector has a pay-scale of $30,000 to $37,000.

So who all would be ready for doing the job for free would be difficult to find. FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said

Our objective is to secure the public and we would achieve it. But I am worried about the effects that this Shutdown will cause to the agency.

Public Concern:

The main concern for the public is that they don’t want people inspecting their food for diseases and feces to face an issue of no pay. This can lead to losing of focus in their work and trying to gain some benefit through wrongful means.

Other issues also include that the skilled workers employed at FDA are having qualifications of food safety and veterinary inspection. They can get much high paid jobs at private sector but opt to work for the government due to job stability.

This Shutdown is causing and will cause some serious issues in the country for which no one could be ready.

Source: ABC News, New York Times, Vox and CNBC

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