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Food and the federal shutdown

(article, Culinate staff)

So the federal government has been shut down for several days now. Here's what that means on the food front.

Public health. Flu season has begun, but the feds aren't monitoring it. And if you remember to go get a flu shot, good for you, since the feds won't be publicizing it. (Let's just hope that 2013 won't be a repeat of 1918.) 

Food safety. Interstate federal monitoring of our food supply has been mothballed β€” just in time for the latest disease outbreak, in this case salmonella in chicken on the West Coast. The USDA is still inspecting meat, but the FDA is not inspecting imported food.

Food stamps and other programs for the poor. Food stamps and the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) program will be funded β€” mostly β€” through October. After that? Food-stamp cuts that were approved before the shutdown will go into effect. Meanwhile, the WIC program has become the focus of a partisan battle. 

As Kristin Wartman wrote on Civil Eats, "It’s beginning to look like what Republicans have wanted all along: To eliminate social programs to help the poor and scale back on regulations, particularly when it comes to the environment and our food supply."