Michael Taylor, FDA’s commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, testified before Congress that more funding is needed for effective FSMA enforcement. “Simply put, we cannot achieve our objective of a safer food supply without a significant increase in resources,” Taylor said during a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
When it was approved in 2010, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that, over five years, FSMA would require an additional $583 million in FDA’s budget. Last year, FDA said it needed $400 to $450 million for FSMA training and enforcement, but the modest budget increase contained in the 2014 fiscal omnibus budget fell short of the total amount needed.
“We will continue our efforts to make the best use of the resources we have, but I can say with absolute certainty that we cannot do all that is asked of us without additional resources,” said Taylor. He noted shipments of imported food have increased from about 400,000 in 1990 to around 12 million today, making monitoring difficult.
Meanwhile, industry trade groups have criticized taxes proposed by the Obama administration to help pay for FSMA, including a fee for domestic and foreign facilities to register with FDA and fees on imports. “As consumers continue to cope with a period of prolonged economic recovery and food makers and retailers struggle with fluctuating commodity prices, the creation of new food taxes or regulatory fees would mean higher costs for food makers leading to higher retail food prices for struggling consumers,” says a statement from more than 50 trade groups.