Implementing the FSMA Just Became More Interesting for the FDA

Ever since the Food Safety Modernization Act was enacted two years ago, there has been quite a bit of interest on the part of food safety organizations regarding how the FDA would react in terms of implementing the new law.

FDAConsumer-driven food safety organizations that remain watchful have gone so far as to file suit against the FDA for missing its deadlines. In all, thus far, seven deadlines have been missed since the law was implemented.

In the end, it looks like the FDA perspective is set to win the day. After the bill became law, the agency was somewhat disappointed that the tightening of requirements did not come with a budget boost that would allow them to actually address the new law. They fully acknowledge that they have failed to meet deadlines, but they have sent out the equivalent of a budgetary cry for help with their non-action.

So, the Obama administration determined that they would go to bat for the FDA in the latest Federal budget. The administration is proposing an $821 million increase to the FDA budget for fiscal 2014.

Of that increase, they are targeting $295 million in funding for modernizing the food safety program. Importantly for the food industry, 80% of that funding will come from increased registration and inspection fees for food facilities in the United States.

The administration has signaled that legislation will be pursued that allows the FSMA deadlines to be met by mandating that the FDA be allowed to charge greater fees for food facility registration and inspection, including for importers.

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