FDA Requests Budget Increase to Ensure Safety of Food Supply

The proposed budget for the FDA would total $4.65 billion for fiscal year 2014, which begins Oct. 1, 2013. The budget seeks a 21.4 percent increase of $821 million over the baseline fiscal year 2012 enacted budget, and an 11.2 percent increase of $470 million over the fiscal year 2013 (continuing resolution) budget. However, virtually all of these increases (about 94 percent) would come from user fees from the food, drug, and cosmetics industries as opposed to federal appropriations, according to budget documents released April 10, 2013 by the Obama administration.

The FDA is seeking a total of $1.47 billion to support its “Transforming Food Safety” initiative, which includes funds to implement the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA). This is a 25.3 percent increase of $295.8 million over fiscal year 2012’s budget, of which $43.4 million would come from federal appropriations and the balance ($252.4 million) from user fees, including five new ones relating to food registration, inspections, and import activities.

The administration will seek legislation allowing it to collect new user fees for food imports ($165.7 million), food facility registrations and inspections ($58.9 million), food contact substance notification ($5.0 million), food export certifications ($1.3 million), and international couriers ($1.2 million). Other existing user fees for food re-inspections and food and feed recalls would increase slightly. The FDA is also seeking $10 million to expand its China office by 16 inspectors and increase food and drug safety inspections in that country.

Growth in the food safety budget would increase the budgets in these categories, including hiring of additional staff: standards-setting for imported food safety (increase of $154.8 million), food and feed safety ($26.7 million), expansion of the integrated national food safety system ($20. 7 million), risk analysis ($9.2 million), food safety science ($8.9 million), domestic inspections ($4.2 million), and foreign inspections ($1.4 million). “These are tight budget times, and the FDA budget request reflects this reality,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, MD, in a statement.

The administration’s budget request is just the start of the process, with lawmakers in the House and Senate gearing up to review and revise the recommendations. However, given the fact that the FDA fared far better than did most other domestic agencies during the recent budget sequestration process, it may come through the process fairly intact.

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