A salmonella outbreak, likely stemming from Foster Farms in California, provides another reminder that the government does a lot of stuff that we rely on, and only notice when the government shuts down. No recall has been issued, over the salmonella outbreak, possibly because most employees at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) are furloughed. Instead, health officials are reportedly telling people to cook their chicken thoroughly.
The latest tally estimated that the salmonella outbreak had caused 278 illnesses in 18 states. Work is being done within individual states to track and contain the outbreak, but the government shutdown means that CDC workers can’t do a cross-state analysis (because, due to the supreme irony of the government shutdown, working could get them fired). The CDC has lab resources that individual state agencies don’t. In short, the country’s defenses are down when it comes to fighting bacteria, like salmonella.
It was only a matter of time before we were given a harsh lesson on the impact of the government shutdown. Not to be dramatic, but more people will get food poisoning from salmonella due to this shutdown. Hopefully these cases won’t be severe, but there’s really no way to control for that. The government shutdown didn’t cause the salmonella outbreak, but it makes the response to it slower and less effectual.