Senators urge full FSMA funding

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: FDA/Flickr
Picture: FDA/Flickr
Seven senators have urged full funding of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food safety work through the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). 

Since being signed into law in 2011, the FSMA has been underfunded by less than half the amount it needs for full implementation, said the senators. 

US Senator Brian Schatz was joined by Dick Durbin, Richard Blumenthal, Dianne Feinstein, Al Franken, Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar in sending the letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“Providing the President’s requested increase of $109.5m would enable FDA to retrain inspectors in the new prevention-based oversight system; hire technical experts to assist growers and food manufacturers to understand and comply with the new requirements; and build the new comprehensive food import oversight system provided for in the law,” ​they said.

FSMA’s Preventive Controls rule was designed to reduce impact of foodborne pathogens, said the senators.

The rule, which has yet to be finalized, would require food manufacturers to identify and implement preventive control measures, such as increased factory testing, to help catch pathogens like Listeria before entering the supply chain.

“Having measures like this in place, and the funding to ensure their understanding and compliance, are absolutely necessary to prevent future life-threatening outbreaks and costly recalls.”

The letter was prompted by the recall and Listeria outbreak coming from Blue Bell Creameries​ and Hy-Vee recalling Summer Fresh Pasta Salad last week.

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