Consumer protection advocate Mike Bannon joined Upwards with Chris Ermer on Tuesday to discuss the details of the shutdown and the furlough of federal consumer protection agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration.
“It is very concerning,” Bannon expressed. “Hopefully [the shutdown] ends pretty soon and we’re able to get back because we are paying the price for this.”
While the FDA has stated on their website that “operations continue to the extent permitted by law… [including] activities necessary to address imminent threats to the safety of human life”, their source of funding carried over from the last year may not last if the shutdown continues.
The funds carried over are expected to last 2-3 months, depending on the program. Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb of the FDA explained that the agency is working on how to “slow down the burn rate”, stating in a tweet that the agency is “making decisions across our portfolio to focus #FDA resources to key consumer protection functions.”
Currently, almost 41% of the Food and Drug Administration are out of work and only emergencies inspections are funded. Without routine inspections, the risk of a contamination outbreak and drug related incidents rises.
“We may not see the effects of this day by day,” Bannon said. “But if something goes wrong in the inspections, there’s going to be big trouble”.
Luckily, the Bucks County Consumer Protection Office is not federally funded and will remain open during the shutdown. Anyone can find information on the Consumer Protection website or call Mike Bannon at 215-348-6060.
WBCB’s Keri Marable contributed to this post.