November 13, 2014

Gillibrand Pushes For $50 Million In Additional FDA Funding To Support Food Inspector Training And Enhanced Food Safety Research

CDC Estimates 48 Million Americans Contract and 3,000 Americans Die from Foodborne Illnesses Each Year

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today urged the Senate Committee on Appropriations to provide the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with an additional $50 million in funding for fiscal year 2015 to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The request comes in support of a letter released by the Pew Charitable Trusts and dozens of foodborne illness victims.

“The Food Safety Modernization Act will help strengthen our nation’s food safety infrastructure so that American families can have more confidence in the safety of the food we eat and we can keep more American’s safe,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “But a law is not enough. We must provide funding to train FDA inspectors, increase research in foodborne pathogens, and provide technical assistance to the industry as we work to successfully implement FSMA. Providing more funding to the FDA will ensure full implementation and will help food producers and processors better adhere to safety standards.” 

In her letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Senator wrote, “Congress must ensure that FDA has sufficient resources to protect the public’s health and better ensure the safety of the food supply while helping farmers, food processors, and importers meet these standards effectively. In a letter released this week by The Pew Charitable Trusts, dozens of foodborne illness victims urged appropriators to provide FDA with sufficient funding for FSMA's implementation.  Pew has asked for at least $50 million in additional FY2015 funding, a solid down-payment on the $300 million the agency will likely need for this purpose over the next two years.”                                                                                     

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is estimated that 48 million people contract foodborne illnesses each year with 3,000 dying from the illness and its complications. The Food Safety Modernization Act is the first major, comprehensive update to America’s food safety laws in over a century and was signed into law three years ago. Senator Gillibrand has remained a strong advocate for enhanced food safety rules and guidelines that protect the health of American families.

Full text of Senator Gillibrand’s letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee is attached.