Food safety concerns linger during government shutdown

SEATTLE – It’s pay day for a lot of Americans but not for thousands of federal workers.  That includes some in our area.  As the government shutdown nears week four, there are more concerns over the fallout.

This past November, the Bethel School District wanted voters to help them with a bond measure that would ease the district’s overcrowding issue.  But right now, the district is stepping up to help parents who are federal workers make sure their kids don’t go hungry.  If you’re impacted by the shutdown, the district is reminding parents to apply for free or reduced lunch for their kids.

“Lab tests are showing this it is a more severe strain of E. coli,” said one CDC spokesperson.

Remember that massive romaine lettuce recall that struck our nation three times last year? There’s concern now that more unsafe food might hit your dinner table because of furloughed FDA food inspectors.

“When you essentially have no inspectors or handicapped inspectors, I just think consumers, we have to take it upon ourselves to keep our families and ourselves safe,” said Food Safety Attorney Bill Marler.  “I would completely stay away from things that you cannot cook. Or don’t cook. So I would completely stay away from deli meats, id stay away from leafy greens, sprouts, fresh fruits and vegetables. I would do stuff that you can cook to a boiling or to a high temperature.”

We met Department of Interior Furloughed worker Anthony Vicari at a food bank at Edmonds Community College.  He’s worried his funds and food supply will run out before the shutdown in over.

“I happen to fall into that paycheck to paycheck demographic,” said Vicari.

But Vicari isn’t just worried about himself.

“I think of the people I have to serve that are doing without,” said Vicari.

As a federal accountant technician, he would be handling the trust moneys of various Native American tribes in the region, if he was at work today.

The S’Klallam tribe sent this letter to members of Congress urging for an end to the shutdown citing long standing obligation for federal aide to their tribe and others.