Farm programs are being put on a diet with President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget, while expanded user fees will fund much of the increase in the Food and Drug Administration food safety budget.
The $4.7 billion fiscal year 2014 budget for the FDA includes a nearly $300 million increase in food safety programs, funded mostly with new user fees for food facility registrations, inspections and food importers, according to a news release from the FDA.
The White House budget was still being processed by industry lobbyists April 10, but Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy for the United Fresh Produce Association, Washington, D.C., called the proposed user fees a “non-starter.”
Hitting agriculture hard, the White House budget proposes to eliminate direct farm payments, reduce crop insurance subsidies and slim conservation programs in order to save $37.8 billion from agriculture spending over 10 years. Discretionary spending for the U.S. Department of Agriculture is projected at about $22.6 billion in fiscal year 2014, about the same as 2012.
The White House document said USDA pest and disease programs at the USDA are scheduled to take a $19 million reduction, from $817 million in fiscal year 2012 to $798 million in fiscal year 2014. Among programs eliminated from the 2014 White House budget are the USDA’s Microbiological Data Program and the Pesticide Recordkeeping Program, according to the budget document.
The White House budget proposal calls for a $295.8 million increase in the FDA’s food safety budget, with $252.4 million (94%) of that total funded by new user fees and $43.4 million added in new budget authority. New fees are proposed to support the Food Safety Modernization Act and boost the agency’s oversight of imported food, according to the FDA release.
The budget proposed new fees for food facility registrations, inspections and food importers. The FDA’s budget also calls for a $10 million increase in its budget to conduct food and drug safety inspections in China.
The FDA’s justification to appropriators for the budget numbers is found online.