February 3, 2015
On February 2, 2015, President Obama submitted his FY2016 budget proposal, which included several items related to food safety. The most newsworthy component of the proposal seeks to create a single food-safety agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This new agency would consolidate responsibilities that are currently shared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Presently, the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service is responsible for the oversight of meat, poultry, and egg products. The FDA is responsible for the remaining approximately 80% of the food supply.
The HHS stated in its budget highlights that "[t]he new agency would be charged with pursuing a modern, science-based food safety regulatory regime drawing on best practices of both agencies, with strong enforcement and recall mechanisms, expertise in risk assessment, and enforcement and research efforts across all food types based on scientifically supportable assessments of threats to public health."
The budget proposal also includes an increase of over $300 million related to the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). In total, approximately $1.6 billion of the budget proposal relates to food safety efforts.
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