Everything You Need to Know About Food During the Government Shutdown

Staff Writer
There's a salmonella scare, but you might be able to process your passport

The main points on what to eat during the government shutdown.

So it's week two of the government shutdown. What next, you ask?

So far this week, we've learned that craft beer production is now on hold, a salmonella scare is taking up the CDC and USDA's time, and, well, Congress still hasn't come to an agreement.

The bullet points on how it's affecting your food, drinks, and travels.

Food Safety
• The CDC now has some 30 workers back from furlough after a salmonella outbreak sickened more than 200 people.

• Watch out for imported foods: the FDA says it is checking less than 2 percent of imported foods. Check out a list of potential dangers here, including cheese (potential bacteria), tea (potential cocaine lacing), and fresh produce.

• Domestically, the USDA has gone from inspecting some 200 plants per week to zero, only monitoring meat and poultry. Vegetables, fruit, and dairy are no longer inspected.

Food Supplement, Food Health
• The SNAP program is still being distributed on a state-by-state basis, for as long as they have funds. Once those funds run out, however, the program will have to shut down, as the government will not be funneling any funds into the nutritional food program.

• Michelle Obama's Let's Move! program is on shutdown mode, despite its functioning website.

• Executive director of Let's Move! Sam Kass (who was also cooking dinner every night for the First Family) was put on furlough. In the meantime, executive chef Cris Comerford is on duty.

Free Food
• Unlucky furloughed workers can eat away their sorrows at a bevy of restaurants offering free food, including sandwiches at José Andrés' Jaleo, Oyamel, and Zaytinya from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Other bars are offering special discounts, coffee shops are giving out coffee (and hugs), and most notably, some locations are making members of Congress pay double. An updated list here.

• Boston Market is the first national chain to give out food to federal employees and military personnel, offering a free whole rotisserie chicken if you buy a family meal at any location in the United States.

• Craft beer folks, along with other small-batch alcohol producers, we imagine, are waiting for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to approve new labels, recipes, and facilities. So any new craft beers or bottles of wine you'd like to try? You'll have to wait that much longer. 

• Restaurants on government property have been affected during the shutdown, as they are no longer allowed to open (unless they are leasing a space). In the meantime, Washington, D.C. restaurants have seen a severe drop-off of business near Capitol Hill.

Craft Beer Stalled Thanks to Government ShutdownGovernment Shutdown Leads to Free Food, But Only for Government WorkersHow the Federal Government Shutdown Affects Your Food and Travel PlansSalmonella Outbreak Sickens 278 During Government ShutdownWhite House Chefs Affected by Shutdown

• While it may seem like passport offices should close, it turns out the Department of State will continue to process passport and visa requests, with the processing times remaining the same. The reason? All of these operations are supported by fees, rather than government funds. Some offices in federal buildings might close, but passport applications are getting worked through.