Just last week, the U.S. House of Representatives allocated over $3 billion to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Over the weekend, a $1.1 trillion spending budget passed by the U.S. Senate is an additional step forward for the food safety industry.

One of the first industry organizations to make a public statement regarding the recent developments in Congress is the United Fresh Produce Association (UFPA). With a strong focus on healthy school meals, the UFPA has expressed contentment after Congress agreed to requiring a half-a-cup helping of fruits and vegetables with every lunch served to students. With this congressional commitment now in place, UFPA can continue working with schools to help them acquire cost-effective produce in addition to developing standards for storing, handling, preparing and merchandising said produce.

Besides making strides in the realm of healthy school lunches, a sizable amount of the approved funding for the USDA and FDA is expected to make changes in the labeling of beef, pork and poultry, as well as “to support developing technologies that will provide rapid, portable, and facile screening of food fish species at port sites and wholesale and retail centers”.

Update: The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) has released a 33-page commentary to the FDA following the passing of food safety related spending in Congress. The report includes a variation of in-depth recommendations for the FDA regarding rules for produce, preventive controls for human foods and animal foods. The PMA maintains that their priority is to ensure that the public will benefit once all regulations are finalized and implemented. “These proposed FSMA rules will have profound business implications on every aspect of the global produce supply chain — they have to be right.” says PMA vice president Jim Gorny. The organization has also spoken out against the FDA’s water quality standards, suggesting revisions for farms with specific microbial hazards.