Ag group asks Congress for $100M to fund FSMA

Dive Brief:

  • The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) wrote a letter to Congress explaining that state governments need an annual additional $100 million a year for “sufficient funding” to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act, according to Food Safety News.
  • The ag leaders said that $40 million would need to be targeted for produce safety. Preventive controls for animal food would need another $20 million. Preventive controls for human food would require $40 million.
  • "NASDA appreciates the initial investment in food safety and state programs Congress made beginning in the FY16 omnibus bill. It is hoped that the availability of additional funding, coupled with what has been provided, will ultimately allow states to fully implement effective programs," NASDA CEO Barbara P. Glenn wrote in the letter.

Dive Insight:

President Trump did not gain many fans on either side of the aisle with his proposed budget that looks to shift approximately $54 billion from domestic to defense programs. While food safety responsibilities are shared between agencies, USDA — which handles some of the load — is one of those that will be cut deep. Much of the enforcement of FSMA falls under the Food and Drug Administration, which has not yet seen a detailed budget proposal from the White House. 

Overall, the budget is seeking to cut 21% of the Agriculture Department’s discretionary spending budget. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, under which the FDA falls, has proposed cuts of $15 billion. Most political experts believe this first draft of a budget has no shot of passing, with some even calling it “dead on arrival.” But that’s not uncommon in Washington, and now the fun begins.

Ag organizations are acting swiftly. In the letter to Congress, state agricultural directors and commissioners stressed the importance of the additional funding they requested to “ensure the systematic and timely implementation of the elements of FSMA for which states have primary responsibility.”

What’s interesting is that Trump's budget proposed nothing cut from food safety for USDA — with his blueprint saying it "Safeguards the Nation’s supply of meat, poultry, and egg products by fully funding the Food Safety and Inspection Service." It's unclear if that feeling extends to FDA. However, the non-partisan agriculture group is taking no chances. FSMA is a major program that is just starting to be implemented by many food manufacturers and is expected to make a monumental change in food safety going forward.

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Filed Under: Manufacturing Food Safety Policy