CDC and Food Inspection Recall Employees In Wake of Recall

Partly due to a salmonella outbreak that has sickened nearly 300 people – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called some employees who were furloughed because of the government shutdown back to work. The CDC called back several data analysts and epidemiologists who track down and respond to foodborne illnesses across the country. CDC spokesperson Barbara Reynolds says they are reevaluating some of the roles now that the government shutdown is in the second week. She says they have to consider the possibility that this will be a longer-term shutdown. Reynolds says the foodborne illness division was down to a skeleton crew of about 10 people – forcing the agency to reduce the number of bacteria strains it was monitoring and making it difficult to update a centralized system that helps officials identify and locate the source of outbreaks. However, with the safety alert issued by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service Monday about the growing number of illnesses caused by salmonella associated with raw chicken products produced by a Foster Farms out of California – the CDC made the move to call back furloughed investigators. Officials at USDA and the CDC are working together to try to pinpoint the cause and breadth of the outbreak