Appropriation of Food Safety Funding Could Be Problem

Opinions vary on whether nation's budget can afford food safety bill.

Published on: Dec 27, 2010

Representative Tom Latham, R-Iowa, says we simply don't have the money to pay for it. It being the new food safety bill. The bill directs the FDA to increase inspections of farms and food companies and to ensure that processors have adequate plans and procedures for preventing contamination of foods. Latham sets on the House agricultural appropriations subcommittee that controls the budget of FDA.

Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, is a member of the agricultural appropriations subcommittee in the Senate.  Harkin says he will push for funding. The bill was estimated to cost more than $1.4 billion over the next five years, with most of that spending coming in 2014 and 2015 after a phase-in period for the new regulations. The bill authorizes the FDA to hire nearly 18,000 new field staff. The FDA's budget for food regulation has nearly doubled over the last four years to more than $800 million.

The bill's provisions for oversight of imported foods includes requirements that the FDA inspect foreign producers, set up some overseas offices and write regulations for verifying the safety of products brought into the country.