Pence meets with Democratic aides to discuss shutdown impasse

WASHINGTON, Jan 5 (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and other senior Trump administration officials met on Saturday with Democratic congressional staffers to try to break a deadlock over a proposed border wall and end a two-week-old partial government shutdown.

President Donald Trump is demanding $5.6 billion to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico but Democrats in control of the House of Representatives this week passed a bill to reopen the government without providing additional funding for the wall.

Trump says he will not sign the bill until he gets the money for the wall.

With the two sides sticking to their positions, a quarter of the federal government has been closed for two weeks, leaving 800,000 public workers unpaid.

Before entering the talks on Saturday, Pence said in a tweet that the administration's goal was not just to end the shutdown but "to provide funding to end the crisis at our southern border, achieve real border security & to build the wall!"

Related: The Most At-Risk Foods During The Government Shutdown

The Most At-Risk Foods During The Government Shutdown
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The Most At-Risk Foods During The Government Shutdown

The FDA closely watches foods that have exhibited contamination in the past and certain foods have caused more illnesses than others.

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A recent multi-drug resistant outbreak of salmonella has sickened 278 people in 17 states. The government has recalled the contaminated chicken and issues a public health alert. The Center for Science in the Public Interest believes this could have been stopped more efficiently had the government been operating normally.

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Salmonella lives in the intestinal tracts of chickens, which is why eggs are at high risk for salmonella contamination. Since eggs have caused a whopping 352 outbreaks and 11,163 reported illnesses, it's important to wash them thoroughly and cook them well.

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Metals In Fruit Juice

The FDA once discovered lead and arsenic in fruit juice concentrates from Argentina and China. One eight-ounce serving contained three times the amount of lead said to be safe for children.

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Berries have been the culprit of over 25 outbreaks and caused 3,397 illnesses. Since they have been linked to contamination in the past, it would be smart to take extra precaution.

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Bacteria In Cheese

Contaminants like salmonella and E. coli have been found in imported cheeses from all over the world. The FDA also keeps an eye out for nitrates in cheese and other dairy products.

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Cocaine In Tea

In 1986, The DEA discovered herbal tea made from “decocainized coca leaves,” which ended up in Hawaii, Georgia, Chicago and other locations on the East Coast. The FDA has been closely monitoring tea ever since.

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Imported Seafood

Roughly 80 percent of the seafood we eat is imported, hailing from regions in Southeast Asia, which could have more lax regulatory procedures according to Caroline Smith DeWaal of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

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Contaminated Supplements

The USDA has prohibited the import of meat from countries with a history of mad cow disease outbreaks; however, this rule doesn’t apply to dietary supplements. The FDA has been keeping a watch for contamination in shipments of supplements.

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Leafy Greens

Leafy greens have caused 363 outbreaks. 13,568 reported illnesses too, which probably because greens are not cooked at a temperature that would kill off bacteria. Norovirus accounted for 64 percent of the cases and comes from unwashed hands.

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Melamine In Milk

The FDA has kept a close watch on milk products from China ever since 2008, when thousands of babies became ill from a contaminated formula. The culprit was a chemical called melamine, which is toxic if swallowed. Keep an eye out for products that list milk as an ingredient like yogurt, frozen desserts, chocolate, cakes, cookies, soft candies and beverages.

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The FDA is always hard at work making sure our food supply stays safe. Curious about what else the FDA has recalled recently? Read on for more!

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Angel Food Cake

Recently the FDA recalled several Angel Food Cake products because they contained soy and milk allergens. The FDA requires foods with potential allergens to be listed on the item. The FDA was concerned that people with allergies or sensitivity toward milk and soy could have potentially fatal reactions, but no illnesses were reported.

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Ready-Made Salads

The FDA discovered Listeria monocytogenes in several ready-to-eat salads, slaw and dips. The organism can cause very serious and potentially fatal infections in young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems, but fortunately no illnesses were reported.

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Pork Dumplings

Several frozen pork dumplings were found to contain allergens like shellfish and fish, but no illnesses were brought to the attention of the FDA.

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The FDA found unusually high contents of lead -- about 28 parts per million -- in a turmeric spice powder, which they then recalled. High levels of lead are particularly risky to infants, small children and pregnant women.

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Almond Butter

Several almond butter products were voluntarily recalled when metallic fragments were found in some items. The recall was more of a cautionary measure and no one was harmed from the fragments.

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Ice Cream

When metallic shavings were found in a few ice creams, a voluntarily recalled occurred on several products and the FDA received no reports of illness.

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Dietary Supplements

The FDA found traces of Sibutramine in a dietary supplement, which prompted the company to issue a recall. Sibutramine was removed from US Markets in 2010 because it can increase blood pressure and poses risks for individuals with a history of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, stroke or arrhythmias.

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Bell Peppers

The FDA found Salmonella in several red and green bell peppers recently and advised a recall. Salmonella can cause serious infections in young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.

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Undeclared soy was found in over 4,000 apple-cinnamon muffins. Since soy can cause bad reactions for those with soy allergies, the product was recalled.

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Smoked Fish

When it was discovered that several smoked fish items were not cooked properly, all of the products were recalled for fear of Clostridium botulinum contamination. This bacterium can cause illness or even death, but there were no illnesses reported.

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Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and a senior adviser, also attended the meeting at the White House, along with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and new White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

They were negotiating with senior staff for the top Democrats in Congress.

Nancy Pelosi, the new Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, said this week that Trump's proposed wall was "immoral" and a "waste of money."

Trump reiterated his demand for a border wall in a series of tweets on Saturday.

"The Democrats could solve the Shutdown problem in a very short period of time," Trump said. "All they have to do is approve REAL Border Security (including a Wall), something which everyone, other than drug dealers, human traffickers and criminals, want very badly!"

Trump threatened on Friday to take the step of using emergency powers to build the wall without Congress' approval. Such a move would almost certainly be met with legal challenges.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

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