Rockville, MD—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would like to see some extra funding in FY 2011: $146 million from the government and $601 million in industry user fees. This 23% total increase (from $3.28 billion to $4.03 billion in all) will be invested in much-needed initiatives to protect public health. Specifically, FDA hopes to use this money to benefit food safety practice, medical product safety and regulatory science.biotropics

One of the proposed plans coming with this increase is the Transforming Food Safety Initiative. This program strives to create a new food safety system to protect the American public. With this initiative, the FDA will set regulations for safety, along with enhancing data collection and risk analysis. Laboratory capacity will be expanded and new technology will be utilized. Furthermore, they hope to start establishing an integrated national food safety system.

There are other initiatives that would come with a budget increase. Money would go toward providing quality health care for all Americans, advancing life and biomedical sciences, and implementing the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. All the involved initiatives work to protect the American people and improve the general health of the nation.

FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., is a vocal supporter of this increase, saying, “The FY 2011 resources will strengthen our ability to act as a strong and smart regulator, protecting Americans through every stage of life, many times each day.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also hopes to up its 2011 budget, with a total budget increase of $14 billion (to $149 billion). A chunk of this money is earmarked for improvements in the National Organic Program. The extra cash also will be used for increased food security, funding farmers, and preventing genetically engineered products from mingling with other products.
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Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is optimistic about the possibilities that come with this increase. “This budget uses taxpayer dollars wisely, taking common-sense steps that many families and small business have been forced to take with their own budgets. We are investing in American agriculture and the American people without leaving them a mountain of debt,” he said in a February 1 press statement.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, March 2010