Washington D.C. — Consumer Federation of America (CFA) today welcomed the President’s FY 16 budget request to substantially increase food safety funding for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Administration proposed a significant increase in appropriated funds for food safety activities at the agency.
“Congress tasked the FDA with the critical job of implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act,” said Chris Waldrop, Director of the Food Policy Institute at Consumer Federation of America. “CFA is pleased the Administration has recognized the importance of food safety activities at FDA and we urge Congress to provide the agency with increased funding to implement this important law.”
Passed by Congress in 2010 with bipartisan support, the Food Safety Modernization Act fundamentally shifts the FDA’s approach from reaction to prevention. Under FSMA, the FDA is tasked with overhauling its food safety activities to better prevent contaminated food from sickening consumers. Each year nearly 48 million Americans are sickened by foodborne illness and 3,000 die.
However, CFA opposes the Administration’s proposal to consolidate the food safety programs of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Food and Drug Administration into a new agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“HHS is a massive organization,” said Waldrop. “A new food safety agency would be lost among the other priorities of the Department, and would likely not receive the recognition or resources necessary for it to be effective. That is why CFA and other groups have called for an independent single food safety agency, as introduced in Congress last week by Senator Richard Durbin and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. As envisioned in the Safe Food Act of 2015, this agency would not be housed in HHS or USDA but would be independent, providing the appropriate emphasis and focus for such an important public health function of government as food safety.
“Further, FDA is currently engaged in a multi-year effort to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act,” Waldrop continued. “This is a big job which requires the agency’s full attention. Efforts to merge the food safety programs at FDA and FSIS would seriously undermine FDA’s implementation activities and hamper efforts to prevent consumers from becoming sick from contaminated food.”
CFA urges the Administration to drop this proposal and urges Congress to ignore it.
Contact: Chris Waldrop 202-306-0617
The Consumer Federation of America is a national organization of more than 250 nonprofit consumer groups that was founded in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education.