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Federal government shutdown won’t impede food-safety inspections, says IBA

October 3, 2013

The federal government shutdown on Tuesday, Oct. 1, had many adverse effects, including those in the food sector. According to the Independent Bakers Association (IBA), Washington, the House of Representatives isn’t scheduled to vote on the Senate's counter offer for the continuing resolution (CR). “Our internal prediction is a one-week shutdown while House and Senate leadership negotiate a mutually acceptable CR,” the association reports. “Until a new CR passes, some federal government programs will temporarily suspend, but those classified as ‘essential’ will continue.”

Such federal operations that will continue despite a shutdown include food-safety and border inspections and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. “There is sufficient emergency funding to operate school meals programs for 30 days during a federal shutdown,” IBA states. “Food & Nutrition Services has $125 million in contingency funds to allocate among discretionary federal programs, like Women, Infants & Children.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides operation plans in the case of a shutdown, "Lapse in Funding Plans," IBA points out. “We advise members to review applicable USDA plans because many federal websites are inactive during a shutdown.”

IBA says it maintains copies of the USDA’s plans, which are available to members upon request.

Under the contingency plan prepared by the Department of Health and Human Services (HSS), 6,620 of its staff were to be furloughed, which amounted to 45% of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) workforce of nearly 15,000 people.

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