The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has dramatically curtailed inspections of domestic food-processing facilities during the partial government shutdown, though it is now trying to resume work at the most high-risk sites.

Since the shutdown began in late December, the FDA has conducted some types of essential food inspections, including at domestic facilities where there are known problems, or that are related to foodborne illness outbreaks, according to the agency. However, it has not performed routine inspections of domestic facilities.

The FDA has vast oversight of the U.S. food supply and regularly conducts investigations of foodborne illness outbreaks, which surged last year.

FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on Twitter Wednesday that the agency is taking steps to restart inspections of food facilities considered high-risk, including those that handle fresh fruits and vegetables, shell eggs, seafood and dairy products like soft cheese.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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2019-01-09