Reps want the funds to make food safety regulations worth the price

Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn) and Sam Farr (D-Calif) want proper funding to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (P.L. 111-353) (FSMA) and called upon the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the HHS to request those resources. The representatives didn’t stop there. They also urged the OMB and HHS to discontinue the practice of requesting disproportionate user fees to implement the FSMA, and asked the OMB to release the pending revised proposed rules required by the FSMA early this fall.

“In the four years since FSMA was enacted, Congress has provided some of the funding necessary for FSMA implementation, but much more funding will be required to make the larger, up-front investments necessary to ensure the public-health benefits the law promises,” DeLauro and Farr wrote. “Once the major rules are completed in the coming year, FDA will require additional funding to fully implement FSMA.”

Funding

The requests come at a time the agencies are preparing the President’s Budget Request for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. Although the FY 2016 request for new budget authority totaled $109.5 million, the representatives refer to it as a significant down payment on what is needed for full implementation of the FSMA. If funding is provided in addition, that money will enable the FDA to provide training for the inspection workforce, hire new staff, and contract with states for inspection services.

User fees

By de-emphasizing user fees as a means of paying for the FSMA implementation, the two representatives believe that the efforts to achieve bipartisan support to fully fund the FSMA will be strengthened. “As you know, Congress has rejected the administration’s last five requests to provide for the implementation of FSMA through user fees,” their letters said. “No bill to authorize such fees has been introduced and even if enabling legislation is introduced this year, it is highly unlikely that any new law will be enacted in time to fund these vital FSMA implementation steps.”