G.M.A. requests F.D.A. budget increase

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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WASHINGTON — In a letter to Congress, the Grocery Manufacturers Association has called for a $380 million increase in the fiscal year 2009 budget of the Food and Drug Administration. The G.M.A. would like to see the additional funding help support the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and related activities in the Office of Regulatory Affairs.

"The F.D.A. is responsible for regulating 80% of the U.S. food supply, but receives only about one-third of the government’s food safety funding," said Cal Dooley, president and chief executive officer of the G.M.A. "This needs to change if we are to maintain our position of global leadership and assure consumer confidence in the U.S. food industry."

The association said additional funding is needed to provide CFSAN with scientific expertise and leadership to assess risks and make science-based regulatory decisions and to increase the number of inspectors and laboratory personnel in the Office of Regulatory Affairs to oversee the manufacturing, distribution and importation of food products.

Mr. Dooley said the Alliance for a Stronger F.D.A., which G.M.A. is a member of, is calling for a $380 million increase in the F.D.A. budget for 2009. Of the $380 million, $150 million would go for food safety and related activities and $100 million would be used for the modernization of the agency’s information technology systems.

In February, the F.D.A. announced it is requesting almost $2.4 billion to protect and promote public health as a part of the president’s fiscal year 2009 budget. This represents a 5.7% increase over the budget for the current year and includes $42.2 million for protecting the food supply.

"The president’s proposal to increase F.D.A. food-related spending by $32 million does little more than cover the cost of inflation and falls short of what is ultimately needed to make certain F.D.A. has the tools it needs to get the job done," Mr. Dooley said.

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