This week, a mother called us about her child hospitalized with a Salmonella poisoning from his day care’s chicken lunch. The child’s condition was tenuous, with a blood infection, and treatment was especially challenging as the bacteria was antibiotic resistant.
The mom turned to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, for information and help because key government’s public health agencies and websites are shut down. Does this have an impact on food safety? You betcha!
Regardless of whether this illness is related to the outbreak linked to Foster Farms chickens, it illustrates that each case of illness is important to track, and protecting our families from unsafe food should be considered an essential function of government.
When the shutdown began, the Food and Drug Administration announced it would have to halt most of its food safety activities, including routine inspections of food manufacturers and monitoring of imports. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shuttered some of its key activities, including outbreak detection and infectious-disease surveillance. The U.S. Department of Agriculture kept its meat, poultry and egg inspectors on the job, but furloughed more than 1,200 other food safety workers.