In a letter to U.S. Congress members dated May 17, 2023, twelve major industry organizations and stakeholder groups made the case for improving national food safety by making changes to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) authorities and budget.

Although the letter acknowledges FDA’s restructuring of its Human Foods program in response to the 2022 infant formula crisis and subsequent Reagan-Udall report, there are still “… several actions Congress can take to modernize the Human Foods program and bring clarity and certainty to the agency’s budget,” the authors state. Specifically, the letter requests:

  1. A modification to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that would permit FDA to share important, proprietary information with state and local regulatory agencies during food safety investigations (this recommendation was also highlighted as “urgent” in the Reagan-Udall report)
  2. Lengthening the terms of cooperative agreements between state and local food safety organizations from three to five years
  3. Including a line item in FDA’s budget that details specific funding for state and local food safety issues, to prevent funds intended for state and local agencies being diverted to other purposes.

The letter was addressed to Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Ranking Member Frank Pallone of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, as well as to Chairwoman Kay Granger and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro of the House Committee on Appropriations. Organizations that cosigned the letter include: the Association of Food and Drug Officials, the American Frozen Food Institute, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Consumer Brands Association, the Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Reports, FMI—The Food Industry Association, the International Fresh Produce Association, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, the National Environmental Health Association, Stop Foodborne Illness, and Western Growers.