October 16, 2019

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October 14, 2019

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USDA and FDA Continue to Call Back Workers Amid Partial Shutdown

  • As previously reported on this blog, without either a fiscal year 2019 appropriation or a Continuing Resolution, a partial government shutdown, which began on December 22, 2018, has continued to impact both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This blog has also reported that as of January 15, FDA resumed inspections of food facilities that produce high risk foods, such as cheeses, other dairy products, seafood, produce, and infant formula, which had been stopped as a result of the federal government shutdown.

  • On January 20, FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a series of tweets that, as part of the efforts to conduct and support domestic food surveillance inspections of high risk products, a total of 100 investigators and 35 supervisors were called back and that “more staff could be on the way depending on needs.” In addition, FDA’s Office of Import and Enforcement Operations, which covers International Mail Facilities and ports of entry, has about 450 FDA staff in the field supporting critical operations, Gottlieb said.

  • On January 16, USDA announced that 2,500 workers were being called back to reopen about half of its Farm Service Agency (FSA) to provide limited services for farmers and ranchers. Those workers temporarily returned to work on January 17, 18 and 22 to help farmers with existing loans and tax documents. It has also been reported that about 90 percent of USDA’s 9,500 Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) employees remain on the job but are working without pay.

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About this Author

Keller and Heckman offers global food and drug services to its clients. Our comprehensive and extensive food and drug practice is one of the largest in the world. We promote, protect, and defend products made by the spectrum of industries regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Commission and Member States authorities in the European Union (EU) and similar authorities throughout the world. The products we help get to market include foods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, veterinary products, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. In addition...