Senate Appropriations Budget Maintains Food Safety Funding, Vast Improvement Over House Version
Statement from Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food & Water Watch
Washington, D.C. – “Today the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a fiscal year 2012 budget for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration that maintains critical funding for food safety, a vast improvement over the food safety funding levels found in the appropriations bill passed by the House earlier this summer.
“The Senate version of the bill also maintains funding that allows USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to conduct meat and poultry inspection without having to resort to inspector furloughs, ensuring that this critical public health program is not interrupted and allowing meat and poultry facilities to keep operating. And unlike the House version, the bill adopted today does not expand a controversial pilot program called the HACCP-based Inspection Models Pilot (HIMP) program in poultry plants. HIMP is a blatant attempt to reduce the number of FSIS inspectors by allowing more industry self-inspection and the Senate appropriators were correct to not expand it.
“Under the new Food Safety Modernization Act, the FDA has a long list of new responsibilities and programs to help make our food supply safer. It’s encouraging that the Senate bill does not include the cuts to FDA’s food safety program that are found in the House version, but the agency will still need even more resources to be able to meet its new responsibilities, especially increasing inspections of domestic and foreign food processing establishments.
“As the appropriations process moves forward, we urge members of Congress to make sure that USDA and FDA have the resources they need to protect public health with strong food safety programs. The Senate version of the appropriations bill for FY 2012 provides those resources and these funding levels should be adopted by the full Senate and the conference committee.”
Contact: Anna Ghosh, aghosh(at)fwwatch.org, 415-293-9905