The safety of food is yet another concern resulting from the federal government shutdown.
The United States government has cut back food inspections to meat only, but area health and food experts said that doesn't mean the food we buy is unsafe.
Because of the shutdown, hundreds of health violations could go unnoticed, but both state and county health employees say only certain types of foods are at risk.
In Sept., the F.D.A. had to turn away 112 fish products, because it wasn't safe.
Those safety measures are now gone, with federal food inspectors furloughed and routine F.D.A. inspections stopping due to the government shutdown, the Eau Claire City/County Health Department said.
“We check the temperatures of the cases every day and we'll do internal inspections on cut watermelons and stuff like that and we do a visual check of all our berries and all the softer fruits every day,” Mega Foods East Produce Business Development Manager Ted Eisold said. “And we rely on our warehouses to make sure they're delivering the best product we can receive.”
But Eau Claire City County Health Department environmental health supervisor K. T. Gallagher said most of the food we eat will still be checked as usual. State and county inspectors continue to check restaurants, grocery stores and processing plants.
“What our department here does is just an outside source to look at those records and food safety checks that they're already doing to make sure they're to make sure there's an independent audit,” Gallagher said.
She said what isn't being checked here is food imported from other countries, largely produce and seafood.
“Buying stuff that was manufactured here in Wisconsin or here in Eau Claire is always a great option.”
Gallagher said it's even more important to make sure food is properly cooked.
“Obviously if food doesn't look right or smell right, don't eat it. When in doubt, throw it out,” she said.
All meat products will continue to be inspected by the F.D.A. Mega Foods East said most of their products are grown in the United States except for bananas, pineapples and other produce that are out of season in Wisconsin.
Raechelle Cline, Public Information Officer with the Wisconsin Divisions of Animal Health and Food Safety said the USDA/FSIS inspects 100 percent of all imports under its jurisdiction, and tests five percent of these for pathogens and residues, while the FDA does not inspect imports without cause. She said the FDA inspections have no regular schedule.