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    GMA Asks Congress to Boost FDA Budget

    The trade group recommends an increase of $380 million for safety in FY09.

    The Grocery Manufacturers Association yesterday in a letter to Congress requested a significant increase of $380 million in the fiscal year 2009 budget of the Food and Drug Administration, to fund the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and related activities in the Office of Regulatory Affairs.

    "The FDA is responsible for regulating 80 percent of the U.S. food supply, but receives only about one-third of the government's food safety funding," GMA said in the letter. "This needs to change if we are to maintain our position of global leadership and assure consumer confidence in the U.S. food industry."

    According to the GMA, the additional funding is necessary to provide FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) with the necessary scientific expertise and leadership capacity to properly assess risks and make science-based regulatory decisions, and raise the number of FDA inspectors and laboratory personnel in its Office of Regulatory Affairs to oversee the manufacture, distribution, and importation of food products across the country.

    Of the proposed $380 million increase, $150 million would go to food safety and related activities, with another $100 million to be directed to the modernization of the agency's IT systems.

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