Earlier this week, President Donald Trump delivered “Budget for a Better America”, his Fiscal Year 2020 federal budget proposal to the U.S. House of Representatives.
The total budget, which stands at a recording-breaking $4.7 trillion, includes a $6.1 billion request from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While there appears to be a strong focus on spending for medical and drug innovations and the ongoing opioid crisis, part of the funds are meant to expand the FDA’s capacity to review human food and animal feed ingredients. Funded programs will also improve food safety and provide consumers with greater information about healthy food choices using the most up-to-date science.
Here is an excerpt on FDA’s food safety plans from the agency’s statement authored by Commissioner Scott Gottlieb:
Efficient global markets for food production and distribution allow American families access to a wide range of wholesome and affordable food choices that can improve their health. We want to provide Americans the benefits from access to this global market, while reducing risks from foodborne illnesses.
To advance these goals, we’re strengthening our response capabilities to foodborne disease outbreaks by improving our capacity to detect early signals associated with foodborne illness and shortening response timelines once human or animal food contamination is detected.
The Budget includes an increase of more than $16 million to improve signal detection of foodborne illness and strengthen the FDA’s response to human and animal food contamination. This will allow the FDA to identify and trace outbreaks of illness to their source and remove contaminated food from the marketplace as quickly as possible to reduce risk to consumers. We also need to make sure that consumers are quickly informed when risks are identified, and that the FDA takes swift action to reduce exposure to food that could threaten peoples’ health. To further support these efforts, we’re also implementing recent recommendations from the Office of the Inspector General for strengthening the FDA’s food recall process.
As part of our ongoing implementation efforts related to the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA), the FDA also proposes allocating additional funds to provide preventive controls inspections and produce safety inspections through the state cooperative agreement programs. To advance these goals, the budget also includes an increase of nearly $16 million to support state cooperative agreements to increase preventive controls inspections and human food produce safety inspections. Our efforts will help ensure that manufacturing and processing facilities can efficiently comply with the new FSMA requirements.
Innovations in plant and animal biotechnology offer tremendous opportunities for advancing public health. Promising new technologies have the potential to improve human and animal health, animal well-being, food productivity and food security. The FDA will continue to facilitate the safe development of these emerging technologies by investing in continued enhancements to our review capabilities for biotechnology products and other novel products, assessing these products in a risk-based manner to provide predictable commercialization pathways that can foster product innovation and market access in a safe and timely way, and improve consumer nutrition. We’re also investing in premarket safety reviews of animal food ingredients to improve review times and eliminate unnecessary burdens to industry. The Budget invests $36 million above FY 2019 to provide the FDA additional capacity to review human food and animal feed ingredients. This initiative includes a proposed user fee for Innovative Food Products, which the FDA will develop in collaboration with industry and other stakeholders.
For the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the budget proposes discretionary funding of $1.045 billion. A total of $927 million dollars has been requested specifically for federal food safety and inspection.
FSIS continually searches for ways to improve its processes through ongoing management reforms and modernization efforts. These efforts will allow FSIS to maintain food safety oversight and reduce operating expenses while allowing FSIS to continue to meet its mandate to protect public health.
The budget proposal still needs to make it through Congress before it can be enacted.