House Votes to Cut Food Safety Budget

March 8, 2011

USDA and FDA will lose $235 million in related funding.

Suspicions that the 112th Congress might pull funds from the Food Safety Modernization are now confirmed, according to the New York Times, which reported on Monday that $235 million has been stripped from proposed FDA and USDA funding.

A reported $106 million for USDA meat and poultry inspections and $129 million for FDA food safety inspections are now off the table, as the U.S. House recently voted in favor of these cuts.

The New York Times report explained the potential consequences of these budget cuts at its website:

 

To ensure the safety of these products, inspectors must be on site at all times. If they’re not, the plant must stop work. House Democrats say the budget cuts would require 37 to 40 furlough days for many of the 8,600 inspectors. Even a conservative estimate would put the loss of meat and poultry production at about $11 billion over the next seven months - a very large dent in the $177 billion annual business. It could also make a large dent in Americans’ household budgets, as reduced supplies drive up costs.

After recent problems with tainted peanut butter, spinach, nuts and eggs, Congress gave the Food and Drug Administration new authority and responsibility to monitor food safety. The House’s $129 million cut would seriously impede its ability to do that job, putting the health of American consumers at risk. We are all for savings, but these proposed cuts make no sense at all.

 

The Food Safety Modernization Act was voted into action last December in an effort to improve traceability and safety of our nation’s food supply, including an increase in food faclility inspectors and improved food recall responses.

Nutritional Outlook will continue reporting on food safety legislation as it arises.