Washington D.C. — Consumer Federation of America (CFA) today expressed disappointment with the President’s FY 17 budget request for food safety funding for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Administration proposed almost no new funding for food safety activities at the agency.
“With the Food Safety Modernization Act, Congress recognized the need for FDA to implement a new system—one that prevents foodborne illness rather than reacting to it after the fact,” said Thomas Gremillion, Director of Food Policy at the Consumer Federation of America. “FDA needs adequate funding to take on its new oversight responsibilities under FSMA. The President’s budget will mean more delay in implementing the law, which Americans will pay for in the form of avoidable hospitalizations and deaths caused by foodborne illness.”
A large, bipartisan majority in Congress passed FSMA in 2010. Last year, FDA finalized the major rules under the law, and the agency will begin enforcing new regulatory requirements later this year. “FDA will need to give a lot of technical assistance to growers, importers and other regulated parties as it finally begins to apply new rules under FSMA this year,” Gremillion explained. “The agency needs to fund state and local partnerships to do this work. It needs to train and hire new inspectors. This budget falls far short of meeting those needs.”
Each year nearly 48 million Americans are sickened by foodborne illness and 3,000 die. “The majority of these illnesses are caused by foods regulated by FDA, and covered under FSMA,” said Gremillion.
CFA is an association of more than 250 nonprofit consumer groups that was founded in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy and education.