A decrease in funding for the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is also likely under the fiscal year 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill.
The budget proposal, which will fund operations between 1 October 2012 and 31 September 2013, was approved yesterday by the US House Appropriations Subcommittee.
Under the bill, the FDA will receive a total of $2.5bn in discretionary funding - topped-up to $3.8bn through industry user fees.
In the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget published earlier this year, the FDA requested a 17% budget increase on FY 2012.
Food safety cuts
“The FDA receives a total of almost $2.5bn in discretionary funding in the bill, a cut of $16.3m, or 0.7% below last year’s level. Total funding for the FDA, including user fees, is $3.8bn,” said a US House Appropriations Subcommittee statement.
In February 2012, the FDA requested an overall budget of $4.5bn, including an additional $253m to fund its Transforming Food Safety Initiative and aid its efforts to “build a strong, reliable food safety system.”
The FDA request has, however, been overlooked.
Through the bill approval, the FSIS looks set to receive a budget of $996m for FY 2013 - a $9m decrease on FY 2012.
According to the bill, the FSIS funding will cover the “necessary expenses” to carry out services authorised by the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act and the Egg Products Inspection Act
“The funding in the bull will maintain critical meat, poultry, and egg product inspection and testing activities, and support the implementation of a poultry inspection program to improve safety and inspection efficiency,” said the statement.
Despite the proposed cuts, House Appropriations chairman Hal Rogers has guaranteed that the budget will continue to ensure a safe US food supply.
“American farmers and ranchers are the backbone of nearly every rural community in the nation. This bill provides responsible funding for the programs and services they need, and helps promote development and economic growth in rural communities across the country,” said House Appropriations chairman Hal Rogers.
“At the same time, this bill preserves resources for food safety, reduces discretionary spending, and streamlines programs to steer precious tax dollars where they are best used.”
The bill still requires approval from the full House Appropriations Committee.