Food safety funding has been a major focal point for the FY 2016 budget proposed by President Obama. Primarily due in support of the fact that all major Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules are scheduled to take effect by the end of FY 2016, the increased focus will impact each of the agencies governing food safety within the US and all entities which fall under their jurisdiction.
Here are three things to know about the proposed food safety funding allocation for FY 2016:
1. There will be a sizeable increase in the allocation of food safety funding.
President Obama’s $3.99 trillion FY 2016 budget proposal allocates $1.6 billion for food safety, a significant increase in food safety funding over previous years. This would include increases of $301 million for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to support new measures under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), resulting in a $109 million increase over the previous year as well as an additional $2.1 million increase to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over FY 2015’s $48 million allocation going towards food safety.
USDA budget requests would decrease slightly for FY 2016, requesting $1.012 billion vs. $1.016 billion for the previous year’s budget as a result of program related cost savings and correlated efficiencies and expects that a portion of the $2.9 billion for agricultural research and extension activities would support additional food safety requirements set forth by FSMA.
2. The proposed increase in food safety funds would include a prioritized food safety spending plan.
The increases to the allocated funding for food safety do not come without guidance. The funding increase includes a detailed plan for spending to include the following allocation:
- $32 million for Nation Integrated Food Safety System
- $25.5 million for New Import Safety Systems
- $25 million for Inspection Modernization Training
- $11.5 million for Industry Education and Technical Assistance
- $4.5 million for Risk Analytics and Evaluation
- $4 million for Technical Staffing and Guidance Development
The top three funding allocations noted are for integration, import, and inspection. These allotments directly reflect the directives set forth in FSMA
3. The plan also includes a proposed single food safety regulatory entity.
In addition to the increase in funding, the new plan outlined by President Obama also asks for Congress to combine several programs overseeing US food safety into a single agency under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Advocates of the plan state that the combination would provide “focused, centralized leadership, a primary voice on food safety standards and compliance with those standards, and clear lines of responsibility and accountability”, citing the current food safety system as being fragmented and outdated. Currently, a total of 12 agencies enforce 30 different laws. An alternate proposal has also been put forth by two members of congress which would suggest the formation of a new food safety agency independent of HHS.
How does this affect your facility? Knowing the government’s increased focus on food safety means companies must continually be audit ready with program sustainability as a focus for management and employees alike. Commitment to food safety and a sound preparation plan is key for facilities as they navigate through the increasing food safety regulatory oversight.
To learn more about the food safety allocations within the proposed FY 2016 budget, visit http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm432576.htm and http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=BUDGET.