This week, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) issued a request to Congress regarding spending for fiscal year 2018. The purpose, according to the letter, is to encourage lawmakers “to support vital programs to ensure a safe, affordable, and abundant food supply.” Part of NASDA’s request is additional funding--specifically $100 million per year-- for the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
To support this substantial request, NASDA’s statement reads:
NASDA urges the committee to provide sufficient funding for FSMA implementation. NASDA requests the committee to continue to increase funding for the state implementation activities that are required by FSMA. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is charged with writing the rules, significant implementation and enforcement activities under FSMA are the primary responsibilities of state agencies. It is crucial that Congress provide sufficient resources so as to avoid unfunded mandates on the states and to ensure farmers have the tools and education necessary to comply with these new federal requirements. Moreover, NASDA continues to insist that FDA get the rules right. The combination of problematic elements of these regulations coupled with inadequate funding for their implementation will ultimately subject producers to inconsistent and arbitrary enforcement, putting their farms in economic jeopardy while doing little, if anything to enhance food safety. Funding to ensure parity between imported and domestic food is also necessary.
NASDA’s funding request, if granted, will ensure that FSMA is implemented both on-time and as intended. Thus far, state funding has been solely centered around implementation of the Produce Safety rule. Funding has not yet prioritized the Preventive Controls: Human Food and Preventive Controls: Animal Food rules. To rectify this, NASDA’s request for fund distribution is divided as follows:
- Produce Safety: $40 million annually for state programs
- Preventive Controls: Animal Food: $20 million annually for state programs
- Preventive Controls: Human Food: $40 million annually for state programs
It is NASDA’s hope that with additional funding--supplemented by what has already been provided--that the states will have the proper resources to implement an effective food safety system.