Bigger budgets proposed for FDA, NOAA

U.S. President Barack Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal 2013, introduced to Congress on Monday, includes USD 4.5 billion for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and USD 5.1 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Fiscal 2013 runs from 1 October 2012 through 30 September 2013.

For the FDA, which regulates the U.S. food supply, the proposed USD 4.5 billion would be up from USD 3.8 billion in fiscal 2012. Industry user fees would fund 98 percent of the budget increase. Two of the new fees would support key elements of the Food Safety Modernization Act, passed in late 2010.

The budget includes USD 10 million to boost FDA’s presence in China, which the agency says will “strengthen the safety of the food and drugs produced in China for export to the United States.”

For NOAA, which manages the nation’s fisheries, the proposed USD 5.1 billion would be up about USD 165 million from fiscal 2012. The budget includes nearly USD 5.7 million for aquaculture projects, an slight increase of 1.6 percent over fiscal 2012.

“It reflects a continued commitment to stewardship of coastal and ocean resources, which in turn benefits coastal economies. It includes tough choices and sacrifices made in the face of tightening budgets, with valuable programs reduced or terminated to accommodate critical investments that could not be delayed to ensure we can meet national priorities,” said NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco in a statement.

The conservation community was quick to respond to Obama’s proposed budget.

“Unfortunately, only USD 30 million of that increase is going towards programs that are important to the direct health of our oceans, while the budget for satellites and other weather-related programs was increased by USD 150 million. It should not be a tradeoff,” said Oceana in a statement. “NOAA’s ability to properly manage healthy and productive oceans is being diminished by inadequate funding.”

Responding to the FDA’s proposed budget, Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter said, “The FDA has many new responsibilities under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act that require more resources for the agency. But it remains to be seen if registration fees are an appropriate way to make up this funding gap. We would certainly not support using money generated by registration fees to implement the certification of private third-party auditors or to continue to throw additional money at state inspection programs that are not working.”


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