Another day, another consequence of the GOP shutdown. The Wall Street Journal reports the shutdown is making it harder to detect and track a salmonella outbreak that’s putting the health of Americans at risk:
“A salmonella outbreak from chicken is highlighting the risk that the partial government shutdown could make it harder to detect and track food borne illnesses, government and private food-safety experts say.”
“At least 278 people have been sickened in 18 states from raw chicken produced at three California sites. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service this week issued a notice that the illnesses were linked to three Foster Farms sites, and said it was investigating along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
“CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds [said] the agency's skeletal staffing during the government shutdown hampered its analysis of the salmonella cases. ‘We were monitoring 30 outbreak clusters, and it became overwhelming’ to the agency's reduced staff, she said.”
“‘There is a real risk to the public if outbreaks aren't being fully investigated,’ said Caroline Smith DeWaal, food-safety director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit group that works on nutrition and health issues.”
“‘These inspections are what tells us if there is a public health problem,’ said one government official familiar with the issue. ‘If you aren't looking, you can't know. If this shutdown goes on for weeks, it becomes a big problem.’”
The adverse effects of the Republican shutdown continue to mount. One would think that with the health and well-being of Americans on the line, House Republicans would allow a vote on the Senate bill to reopen the government. What more will it take?