As the partial government shutdown continues with no end in sight, some are starting to wonder of even something as simple as a dinner out with your family on a weekend could put you at risk.
FDA food inspectors have been on furlough since the shutdown began. These are the people who make sure the shrimp you order at your favorite restaurant (which comes from other countries like Thailand) is safe. Jay Neal at the University of Houston says we're okay now, but it might be different in the near future.
“If this goes on much longer, we’re going to start to see a few issues,” Neal told KTRH.
This has people like Houston restaurant owner Tony Vallone worried.
“If there’s nothing coming through I don’t know what we can do,” Vallone told KTRH. “We’ll have to take it day by day. If this does happen it will affect us tremendously.”
Neal says it's not locally owned places that will be affected but national chains.
“Red Lobster, Olive Garden. These are the places that may be more inclined to have international imports,” Neal said.
Neal says this is only affecting FDA, not USDA inspectors. So there would be no issues with beef. However, there is a larger and more dangerous issue here. And that is if there is an outbreak of food poisoning.
“The CDC is also furloughed right now,” Neal said.
So how long will it take until there is a real problem?
“Until we get the next outbreak. We’re not going to know what the problem is until something bad happens,” Neal said.
Neal wants to emphasize that we’re okay right now, but the real problems will come if the shutdown isn't solved soon.