FDA seeks $5.1 billion in funding for FY 2017.

  • As FDA’s implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) kicks into higher gear, adequate funding remains a topic of continued debate and discussion.  Many agree that FDA is routinely under-funded, which leads to implementation and enforcement challenges across all divisions of the Agency.
  • On February 9, FDA announced its request for a total budget of $5.1 billion to carry out its duties in FY 2017 (i.e., the period from October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017).  Specific to the regulation of the food supply, FDA seeks to allocate an additional $18.4 million in budget authority and $193.2 million in user fees to its continued implementation of FSMA.  The Agency notes that additional funding will enable it to continue its work in verifying the safety of imported food and to conduct food safety audits of foreign food facilities (an area in which FDA has failed to meet inspection targets so far).
  • President Obama also has announced his proposed budget for FY 2017, and already it is being criticized for allocating insufficient additional funds specific to FSMA implementation.  Congress ultimately will need to take action, and we are likely to see continued debate and discontent surrounding various funding requests and approaches.  In particular, we suspect that industry stakeholders will be paying close attention to FDA’s planned dependence on user fees for FSMA implementation.  User fees remain unpopular in the food industry, and many hope that FDA will remain unsuccessful in its attempt to expand reliance on this source of funding.