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Salmonella, Flu, Zombies, and the CDC in Shutdown Mode

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in AtlantaPhotograph by David Goldman/AP Images

At the start of the government shutdown, Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told CBS News: “If there’s an outbreak of food-borne illness that affects people in multiple states, we may not identify it promptly.” He was even more blunt on Twitter, announcing on Oct. 1, “We are less safe.”

Well, there’s now an outbreak of food-borne illness that’s affecting people in 18 states: 278 reported illnesses, mostly in California, have been linked to salmonella in raw chicken produced by a company called Foster Farms, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Monday. (The USDA’s food inspectors, like air traffic controllers, keep working through the shutdown.) Foster Farms says it’s working with government agencies to reduce the incidence of salmonella and that no recall has been issued.