Congress has been asked to provide the US Food and Drug Administration with an additional US$275m in funding for fiscal 2009, a move that the FDA told just-food would be "a step in the right direction".

If approved, the additional funding would bring the FDA's total annual budget to $404.7m. 

The supplementary funds would allow the FDA to better secure the safety of the US's food supply, an FDA official told just-food this afternoon (10 June).

"There are three primary areas that the funding would be used on," the FDA spokesperson commented. "$125m would be focused on protecting America's food supply, allowing the FDA to intensify its actions and help implement the food protection programme. The remainder will be used to increase our foreign presence and increase the technical support offered to food manufacturers."

The FDA recently unveiled plans to set up offices in various countries that export food to the US in order to build closer working relationships with international companies and catch food safety risks before they reach American soil. 

"We're going to set up more offices, working towards our goal of establishing FDA offices in different five countries and regions. We hope to set up administrative centres in China and India, Central America the Middle East and Europe," the FDA told just-food.
 
The FDA spokesperson said that the agency was unsure when Congress would reach a final decision on the request, but added that it is expected in this financial year.