FDA could face budget cut

FDA could face budget cut

Members of the US House of Representatives have debated Republican proposals to reduce the US Food and Drug Administration's budget by 11.5% in fiscal 2012.

The proposals would reduce the FDA's budget by US$285m and impose a $35m cut on the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection Service.

Backing the proposals, Republican Jack Kingston, chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, said that the cuts were necessitated by "tight" budget circumstances and the need for austerity measures.

According to the proposals, the reduced funding would not prevent "critical" meat, poultry and egg product inspection and testing activities and would "support an expansion of a poultry inspection pilot project that will lead to improving food safety."

The threat to the FDA's budget comes as the agency moves to implement changes to food safety monitoring under the Food Safety Modernisation Act.

According to a spokesperson for Washington-based consumer lobbyists, the Consumer Federation of America's Food Policy Institute, the cuts "could not come at a worse time" for the FDA as it works to update its monitoring and detection systems.

"The FDA is undergoing a far-reaching process of reform. It is a front-line service that protects the safety of American consumers and it is vital that its ability to do so is not inhibited," the spokesperson said.

The FDA was unavailable for comment at time of press.