With the government shuttered, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been forced to halt many of its operations, including food safety inspections. 

Since the partial shutdown allows federal administrations to continue activities necessary to address threats to the safety of human life, the FDA hopes to resume food inspections soon.

In a statement on Twitter, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb reassured concerned citizens that the agency was still doing all of its regular foreign food inspections. 

Gottlieb said domestic inspections will be based on the risk of food facilities.

"We assess risk based on an overall, cross-cutting risk profile," Gottlieb wrote in a tweet. "The primary factors contributing to a facility’s risk profile include: the type of food, the manufacturing process, and the compliance history of the facility."

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Meanwhile, FDA Deputy Commissioner Frank Yiannas says that the FDA will continue their investigation into the causes of the E. Coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce, which the CDC reported as seemingly over earlier today. 

However, the FDA will be limited in their ability to conduct food safety inspections for high-risk food products such as romaine lettuce. 

According to the Washington Post, “The agency, which oversees 80 percent of the food supply, has suspended all routine inspections of domestic food-processing facilities.”

Another recent recall on Grand Strand Sandwich Company Lunch Box sandwiches will also continue to be monitored by the FDA. Italian sub sandwiches, ham and swiss croissants, and ham and cheese sandwiches were recalled on Monday due to a possible link to a Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

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The FDA is an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency regulates a number of important products in the U.S. and is closely related to several other government agencies, which can make it difficult to know the appropriate agency to contact in the case of an emergency. 

Products that are regulated by the FDA include dietary supplements, bottled water, food additives, and infant formulas among other food products. The FDA also regulates prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vaccines, medical devices, and electronic products that give off radiation.

Under FDA’s MedWatch Program, you can report problems that you have with drugs and other medical products directly to the FDA. 

You can find more information on the program here.

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