In a joint letter to congressional leaders, the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) voiced its support for increasing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) food safety budget by $109.5 million for implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
The letter, which was also signed by a cross-section of food organizations, underscores that prevention is the cornerstone of the nation’s food safety strategy and the foundation of FSMA, which "includes new requirements for manufacturers and provides the FDA with the authorities it needs to adequately fulfill its food safety mission." The letter, the full version of which can be found online, went on to say, "This new focus on prevention and expanded authority as granted by Congress necessitates an update and increase to FDA’s food safety tools, from regulations to infrastructure."
Dr. Jim Gorny, PMA's VP of food safety and technology, explained: “FDA and stakeholders have put a great deal of time, effort and thought into development of regulations that protect public health and assure confidence in our nation’s food supply. Those regulations – and consumer safety – are critically dependent on a properly funded implementation plan."
FDA has outlined funding specifically to address these priorities:
- Inspection modernization and training
- Advancing the National Integrated Food Safety System
- Education and technical assistance for industry
- Technical staffing and guidance development at FDA
- Building the new import safety system
- Risk analytics and evaluation
“In the near future," Gorny continued, "we’ll be sharing our thoughts on funding allocations and prioritization to support FSMA implementation based on the needs of the produce industry.”
FSMA has been prioritized as a key focus for the Newark, Del.-based PMA, as food safety remains a top priority for the industry.