Federal Government Shutdown Affecting Food Inspections - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Federal Government Shutdown Affecting Food Inspections

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How safe is your seafood? FDA inspectors won't be able to tell you. They're furloughed until the federal government shutdown ends.

"It makes me think twice about buying something."

Louisiana is one of the nation's top seafood producers. Seafood processors there say FDA inspectors pay them at least one surprise visit a year. "It's very strenuous, they come for a week and they go through all the guidelines," says Wayne Hess of American Seafoods, Inc.

But while federal inspections are on hold, Louisiana's monthly inspections will continue.

"The states pick up a fair amount of food inspection for things like seafood. But it's not like having the full force here," says Dr. LuAnn White.

But those inspectors do make a big difference. "The threat that there could be an inspection keeps a lot of people honest. It's like when you're not watching your children, they're more likely to do something wrong; when you're sitting there with your eyes on them."

Experts say seafood imports will see the biggest impact. That's because without inspectors, those products will just have to sit at the dock.

"Long term it could have a great effect and we're having a shortage of shrimp right now, so people who are bringing imported shrimp in, I think that's just going to make the situation incredibly worse."

For now, experts say, don't panic. Just make sure seafood is well refrigerated, and smell it before cooking.

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