Food safety funding falls short

More coordination and funds needed to make FSMA succeed.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration is requesting a total budget of $5.1 billion to protect and promote the public health as part of the President’s fiscal year 2017 budget – an 8% increase over the enacted budget for fiscal 2016.

The overall request includes a net increase of $14.6 million in budget authority and $268.7 million in user fees for initiatives tied to several key areas, including the implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FMSA) and efforts to improve medical product safety and quality

The $25.3 million increase for FDA’s food safety activities included in the President’s fiscal 2017 budget request “moves in the right direction, but falls far short of the next investment needed in our new preventive approach to food safety for public health,” said National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) chief executive officer Barbara Glenn.

“The $104.5 million appropriated by Congress in December was a great down payment on the programs needed to implement (FSMA). States need a similar increased investment for fiscal 2017,” Glenn added.

Glenn said when NASDA looks at the programs needed to administer Human Food, Animal Food and Produce Safety programs at the state level, states will need about $100 million in fiscal 2017 to meet the goals of FSMA.

However, Glenn said she was disappointed by the inclusion of user fees in the budget request as user fees have never been supported by NASDA, Congress or other industry stakeholders. “The continued request for user fees by the administration undermines FDA’s efforts to effectively implement FSMA in a timely manner,” she said. “Without sufficient support of FSMA from the President and Congress, we are setting our producers up for a failure.”

More collaboration needed

At the NASDA Winter Policy Conference earlier this month, members passed a resolution to support an expanded collaborative role between state departments of agriculture and FDA for the proper implementation of FSMA beyond the Produce Safety Rule.

NASDA is currently receiving FDA support through a cooperative agreement to implement the Produce Safety rule. NASDA members are aware of agriculture’s desire for better industry to regulator, both state and federal, co-training to assure the greatest level of consistency in education and compliance.

“FSMA does not stop at safe produce. There are also broad implications for agriculture in both the animal and human food rules,” said Greg Ibach, NASDA president and Nebraska director of agriculture. “Additionally, we must continue to spread domestic awareness of rules affecting imported foods. All of this must be done with a shared goal of reducing the incidences of food borne illness and creating an overall workable program that allows our producers to maintain viable operations.”

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