A House and Senate Conference Committee finally came to an agreement on an extra $50 million for the FDA’s 2012 budget. The extra money will be used to implement provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act, which was signed into law last January.  

“We count on FDA to continue to make sure our foods are safe, regardless of origin,” says Christopher Waldrop, director of the Consumer Federation of America’s Food Policy Institute. “As Americans enjoy more foods from overseas, the agency must invest several times more effort in import safety than it has in the recent past.”   Much of the additional funding will be used to hire about 2,000 additional food inspectors and allow for more frequent plant inspections.

The food industry generally supported the extra funding. The Alliance for a Stronger FDA, which receives funding from a number of industry sources, lobbied for the appropriation, saying Americans must be assured a safe food supply.