A slowdown in the establishment of federal centers of excellence in food safety mandated by the FSMA “could have an adverse effect on the progress that the U.S. has been making in foodborne disease surveillance,” warned a leading national food safety expert.
In early March, the CDC informed the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy that there is insufficient funding in the CDC’s FY 2012 budget.
Mike Doyle, PhD, Regents Professor of Food Microbiology and director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia in Griffin, warned that getting the centers up and running will be “all the more critical as we continue to import more food.” (The CDC released a report on March 14 indicating that foodborne disease outbreaks linked to imported food rose in fiscal years 2009 and 2010.) “We need centers like these to upgrade our surveillance system so that we can have more timely responses to outbreaks.”
In early March, the CDC informed the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy that there is insufficient funding in the CDC’s FY 2012 budget for the expected $2.75 million it would to cost to establish the five centers.
Dr. Doyle said that he understands that efforts are being made to get the centers into next year’s budget. “Minnesota already has a good thing going up there in terms of their Center of Excellence,” he noted. “Without this funding, I think it’s going to have a major impact on their ability to staff the program and to keep it rolling.”