[10 January/CNBC]

The federal government shutdown has forced the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to suspend a large portion of its food safety inspections. Safety inspections of imported food continued at normal pace, according to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. Domestic inspections, which the organization does approximately 160 per week have slowed. Mr Gottlieb reported the FDA is working to continue inspecting high risk inventory including seafood, cheese and infant formula, which makes up about 31 percent of all domestic inspections. Deputy Director of Regulatory Affairs at the Centre for Science in the Public Interest, Sarah Sorscher, noted to CNBC that some items which are not designated as high risk, have become contaminated in the past. The slowdown in inspections does not appear to be affecting restaurant chains, with one reporting that their internal audits are still being conducted which exceed FDA requirements.