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WASHINGTON -- The Food & Drug Administration will be "pretty severely limited" if the government shuts down due to lawmakers' failure to pass a budget, said an FDA official.
"We will be pretty severely limited. We're hopeful that a resolution is reached before it comes to that," said the official.
The FDA, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, has nine centers and offices and employs 13,000 workers. The agency's Office of Regulatory Affairs , which oversees food inspections, will have some inspectors on staff in the event of a government shutdown but will not operate at full capacity. All inspections of food processing facilities and drug manufacturing plants would be prioritized by risk.
However, the agency's Center for Tobacco Products, which has 275 employees, will remain fully staffed regardless due to being funded by the tobacco industry.
In the case of an emergency such as a food borne illness outbreak, the FDA will be able to call furloughed employees back to work.