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Politico: Shutdown Caused Salmonella Outbreak

Some preposterous fear mongering from the Politico:

Government shutdown worst-case scenario realized: Salmonella outbreak

By TARINI PARTI and HELENA BOTTEMILLER EVICH | October 8, 2013

A multi-state Salmonella outbreak is exactly the scenario food safety advocates and lawmakers warned about when the federal government was forced to shutdown last week.

Now that nightmare has come true, though the federal agencies charged with arresting foodborne illnesses are scrambling to make due [sic].

This is journalistic malpractice at its finest. (Not to mention illiteracy.) The Politico is trying to blame the latest Salmonella outbreak on the government shutdown.

Even though we later learn in the article no USDA’s food inspectors have been furloughed. And that there was a Salmonella outbreak last year from the exact same source, Foster Farms, when there wasn’t any government shutdown.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is operating with about one-third of its staff on the job during the shutdown, confirmed Tuesday that it has now brought back 30 furloughed employees in its foodborne division to help handle the outbreak, which has sickened 278 people in 18 states.

So what are they going to do? Cure those people? Besides, who furloughed these workers in the first place?

And if those CDC employees are so vital to the health of the nation, why weren’t they deemed essential from the start? Under the government’s own regulations, anyone who protects life and property is to be deemed essential.

So they either protect life or they don’t. And it looks like their bosses thought they didn’t. — Though they have now decided to call them back to work.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service — which is operating with 87 percent of its staff during the shutdown — issued a public health alert Monday evening saying that raw chicken products produced by three Foster Farms facilities in California are the likely source of the outbreak

The outbreak is exactly what food safety advocates and several lawmakers earlier feared.

And it would have happened with or without the shutdown. But we without the shutdown we would have never heard one peep about it.

“I can’t tell you what might be missed while the CDC is shut down,” Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said in an ominous floor speech last week.

“Important programs like protecting public health are going by the wayside. Our food safety is in danger,” warned Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.)…

Nothing was missed. The CDC would not have stopped this from happening. This is nothing but the most blatant kind of Democrat demagoguery.

CDC had been tracking a similar Salmonella outbreak, also linked to Foster Farms’ raw chicken last year, but that outbreak had only one strain of Salmonella Heidelberg. Both agencies are now working with Foster Farms to determine what’s causing the outbreaks.

Was there a government shutdown last year? Who knew?

FSIS inspectors are still investigating exactly which Foster Farms products are linked to the outbreak. If they are able to get more information, the agency might issue a recall, said Dr. David Goldman, assistant administrator for FSIS’s Office of Public Health and Science. [The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service.]

Goldman said, unlike CDC, FSIS has been largely protected by the shutdown because its field inspectors and lab personnel were deemed essential. In response to the public health alert, it has put some of its employees on call and brought back at least one employee from the Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Education.

“We’ve had no problem with the shutdown at all,” Goldman said. “Our inspection personnel are at work as well as our lab personnel, so none of that has been affected.”

In other words no food inspectors were ever furloughed. So the government shutdown did not cause or even exacerbate this outbreak. But that’s not what the Politico wants you to think.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Wednesday, October 9th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Politico: Shutdown Caused Salmonella Outbreak”

  1. We could save a ton of money if people would just wash their damn hands and cook the chicken.


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