The majority of a US$50 mill. increase in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) funding for fiscal 2012 will go toward implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act.
The Alliance for a Stronger FDA - which is backed by industry groups including the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the American Frozen Foods Institute and the Snack Food Association - was a strong proponent of increased funds for the agency, which were finally agreed in an agriculture appropriations bill passed last month.
The FDA is responsible for the safety of about 80% of the US food supply. It was initially estimated that the Food Safety Modernization Act, which was signed into law on January 4 this year, would cost about US$1.4 bill. over five years to implement. Of the US$50 mill. FDA funding boost, US$39 mill. will be specifically targeted toward measures required by the new law, such as employing about 2,000 additional inspectors and increasing the frequency of plant inspections.
Uncertainty over funding provisions for the Food Safety Modernization Act has loomed over the bill, despite repeated bipartisan calls from industry and consumer groups - as well as the FDA itself - for adequate funding.
The Consumer Federation of America and Pew Food Safety Campaign also welcomed the funding increase.
Source: Food and Drug Administration (FDA)