The FDA will receive $2.72bn in discretionary funding in the bill from the US House of Representatives (HOR), an increase of $132m over the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $14m below the President’s budget request.
David Lennarz of Registrar Corp, an FDA consulting firm, said this is likely due to the ongoing implementation of FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) commended Congress for passing a spending and tax extender package that will fund federal agencies through September 2016 and extend a host of corporate and individual tax credits.
“This legislation includes a $104.5m increase for the FDA’s food safety activities, including implementation of FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act.
“This increase in funding represents a significant victory for AFFI. AFFI has actively led a coalition of food makers in advocating for sufficient funding for FSMA through the appropriations process rather than through new taxes or proposed regulatory fees.”
AFFI led a coalition of more than 60 groups calling for additional FDA funding to come from the Congressional budget rather than new user fees.
Final rule progress
FDA has published three final rules under FSMA. They are the Produce Safety rule, the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP) rule, and the Accredited Third-Party Certification rule.
They were welcomed by the majority but not all reacted positively.
The final two are scheduled for spring (Sanitary Transportation of Food in April 2016 and Food Defense in June 2016).
The Pew Charitable Trusts, which was one of many organisations that urged full funding of FSMA, said the funding boost is the largest for the agency’s FSMA-related work since the law was enacted nearly five years ago.
“The added resources for fiscal year 2016 will support efforts to educate food growers, processors, and importers about their new responsibilities under the law. Funds will also enable FDA to ramp up its enforcement capacity so that it is ready when the recently finalized FSMA rules come into effect,” it said.
The legislation also includes more than $1bn for the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, $1.6m below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $3.3m above the President’s request.
Funding will help maintain more than 8,000 frontline inspection personnel for meat, poultry, and egg products at more than 6,400 facilities.