Government shutdown impacts grocery stores as FDA food safety inspections are condensed

FDA suspends some food inspections

GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - You might want to be a little more cautious during your next trip to the grocery store. The way our food gets inspected has changed since the U.S. government is still in the middle of a shutdown.

With routine food inspections down, this means your everyday grocery store food items might be affected, leaving some shoppers worried.

“You can get sick and die, what else is there to worry about it,” Bi-Lo shopper Michael Faile says he feels like his visits to the grocery store are a risk.

Although food safety inspections have decreased since the shutdown, all foreign food that enters the U.S. will be inspected as normal. On the other hand, there are fewer workers to inspect “high-risk foods” such as seafood, cheese, vegetables and baby formula.

The concern for safe food does not stop at the local grocery stores, restaurants also have to be mindful that the food they are serving their customers is safe.

“Food is very important to everyone, so we don’t want to get anyone sick or anything.”

Lei Long is the manager at Akahana in Belmont. It’s an Asian Bistro with a variety of sushi and stir-fry dishes.

She says despite the changes that come with the government shutdown, the food she serves her customers is okay to eat.

The seafood at Akahana comes from a frozen food distributor based out of Georgia. Long says if the quality of the food ever seems questionable her chefs never hesitate to throw it out.

“Yes, yes … that’s what we always do.”

In the meantime, some people are turning sour as they wait for the shutdown to end.

“I mean they need to get back to work. Reach an agreement. End it and get people back to work,” said Faile.

State and county health officials will continue to look after your food that comes from grocery stores and restaurants.

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