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The ongoing federal shutdown

(article, Culinate staff)

Now that we're in Week Three of the federal shutdown, let's check in on the national food situation.

Crops are rotting in the White House kitchen garden, because nobody is on hand to pick them. Alaska's crabbing season is on hold, because nobody is issuing permits. And farmers are having to guess instead of plan for the future, since nobody at the USDA is publishing crop reports.

Many Americans — including senior citizens, young families, and the poor — are starting to worry that, once November rolls around, food will vanish from their tables. North Carolina — already a place where citizens struggle to get enough food — has become the first state to slash welfare benefits as a result of the shutdown. 

Meanwhile, the USDA has refused to shut down Foster Farms poultry plants in California, despite a recent salmonella outbreak there. So warehouse retailer Costco decided to issue its own recall of tainted chicken; the grocery chains Fred Meyer and QFC soon followed suit. If you bought "Simple Truth Organic" chicken at Freddy's, the simple truth is that you need to chuck it in the trash. Oh, and that Costco recall? Only for its rotisserie chicken; as Mark Bittman noted, the chain didn't remove Foster Farms fresh chicken from its shelves.