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USA Todayreports that "the Food and Drug Administration will conduct fewer food safety inspections this year because of the government sequester," according to FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg.

According to the story, "While consumers may not feel the impact immediately, the loss of $209 million from its budget will force the agency to conduct about 2,100 fewer inspections, an 18% decline compared to last year. The funding loss, part of the $85 billion in automatic budget cuts that took effect March 1, will also delay the agency's implementation of the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act."

Two additional excerpts:

• "The FDA will prioritize programs that have the greatest effect on public health, including disease outbreaks, she said. Hamburg does not expect to furlough workers. One in six Americans, or 48 million people, develop a food-borne illness each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 3,000 die, and 128,000 are hospitalized."

• "The FDA is already facing sharp criticism, and even legal action, for being slow to implement the food safety law. The law aimed to refocus the FDA's efforts on prevention, rather than responding to crises."
KC's View:
Smart people who know far more about this stuff than I do seem to be relatively unconcerned about this. I'm willing to accept their judgement until the facts contradict them.

That said, it is interesting that Congress isn't moving to deal with the FDA's assertions, but is moving to address flight delays because of sequestration and airport furloughs. Y'know why? Because the people stuck on the tarmac are rich people who write campaign checks.