An increase in the US Food and Drug Administration’s funding is urgently needed to maintain a competitive global position and encourage consumer confidence, representatives of the US food industry have told legislators.

In a letter to the House of Representatives and US Senate, the Grocery Manufacturers Association called for the FDA’s budget to be increased by US$380m next year. The federal budget request for 2008 totalled $2.1bn, a $105.8m increase from 2007.

“The FDA is responsible for regulating 80% of the US food supply, but receives only about one-third of the government’s food safety funding. This needs to change if we are to maintain our position of global leadership and assure consumer confidence in the US food industry,” Cat Dooley, GMA president and CEO, wrote.

The GMA maintains that the administration is chronically under-resourced. This restricts the quality of its work and consequently jeopardises the industry it regulates, the GMA believes.

The GMA told just-food yesterday (9 April) that the US food industry has launched a sustained campaign calling for an increase in FDA funding.

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“The issue of FDA funding has been an on-going priority for us,” a spokesperson for the GMA said.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association is an industry body representing industry giants such as Nestle, Kraft, ConAgra, General Mills and PepsiCo.