With Federal Government Shutdown, Serious Threats to Food and Water Safety


With the clock ticking down to the Oct. 1 deadline, and with seemingly little or no substantive progress made by Republicans in Congress to come to an agreement on putting forth a spending plan for the coming fiscal year, the prospect of a federal government shutdown beginning Sunday morning has become very likely.  In the event of a shutdown, serious and specific threats to food and water safety could immediately arise. These threats include:

  • EPA regulators could be forced to suspend critical safety inspections at drinking water sources, hazardous Superfund waste sites, and chemical facilities. During the government shutdown of 2013, the EPA halted inspections at about 1,200 such locations.
  • FDA inspectors could reduce or delay inspections at major food processing facilities, putting consumers at risk of food-borne illness. During the government shutdown in 2013, about 900 of these inspections were postponed.
  • The EPA would be forced to shut down the $15 billion project to replace dangerous lead water pipesthroughout the country, putting impacted families at continued risk.
  • Federal regulators could be forced to keep from finalizing comprehensive Biden administration regulations on power plants, oil wells and PFAS “forever chemical” pollution, severely threatening water safety.

In response, Food & Water Action Deputy Director Mitch Jones issued the following statement: 

“By driving this country to the brink of a shutdown, Congressional Republicans are proving once again, in stark relief, that they simply don’t care about the health and wellbeing of the American people. Nowhere is this more obvious than in their willingness to shut down critical food and water safety inspections that occur every day across the country. Rather than working with Democrats to responsibly fund the government, Speaker McCarthy and his slim majority are catering to the most extreme right-wing members in an already extreme caucus. House Republicans should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves, and they must be shown the door in 2024.” 

Contact: Seth Gladstone – [email protected]