While the Trump Administration’s record $4.8-trillion proposed budget for Fiscal 2021 calls for steep cuts to many domestic programs, funding for food safety would survive at FDA and USDA but fare poorly at CDC. While the budget is unlikely to be approved, given congressional opposition and established spending caps, the document offers a look into the White House’s fiscal priorities.
The proposed budget for FDA, presented to Congress in February, would give that agency a discretionary budget of $3.29 billion, an increase of $25 million (less than 1 percent) over the current year’s funding.
FDA’s budget, which begins Oct. 1, allocates $1.5 billion for food safety programs, an increase of $33 million (2.2 percent). This total includes $1.4 billion in budget authority (a $5 million increase) and $28 million in user fees for imported foods and recalls. FDA is proposing a new “food product innovation” user fee of $28 million, which will need congressional approval.
To support its smarter food safety initiative, FDA will add $2 million for new technologies to enhance track and trace capabilities; $1 million more to improve detection and response to foodborne illness; and $8 million more to implement agency-wide artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.
“In relative terms, we are pleased that the administration’s commitment to FDA remains strong, even while many other worthwhile agencies are proposed for cuts,” said Steven Grossman, deputy executive director of the Alliance for a Stronger FDA, in a statement.
Facing an agency-wide 9 percent reduction, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would not fare as well as FDA. CDC’s food safety activities would be cut by $9 million (14 percent) to $54 million in Fiscal 2021.
While USDA’s overall budget would be cut by $1.9 billion (8 percent) to $21.8 billion, food safety programs would hold their own or increase slightly. Discretionary funding for USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) would increase by $38 million (3.6 percent) to $1.1 billion. Additionally, FSIS will propose a new user fee starting in 2022 to cover costs associated with all federal, state, and international food inspections for meat, poultry, and egg products.