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    USDA Proposes $131 Million Next Year for Food Safety

    WASHINGTON - The Bush administration is proposing $131 million in new spending next year on programs to improve food safety and prevent agricultural diseases, The Associated Press reports.

    WASHINGTON - The Bush administration is proposing $131 million in new spending next year on programs to improve food safety and prevent agricultural diseases, The Associated Press reports.

    Included in the proposed increases: $49 million more for faster testing of livestock for diseases such as foot-and-mouth, and increases of 3 percent to 6 percent for various research and inspection programs and the Food Safety and Inspection Service.

    The money will be included in President Bush's proposed 2003 budget for the Agriculture Department, officials said Wednesday.

    USDA's overall budget would also be cut slightly, said department spokeswoman Alisa Harrison.

    The full budget is slated to be released next week, according to the AP.

    The administration is proposing increasing spending for USDA's Women, Infants and Children feeding program by $364 million to $4.75 billion, enough to serve an average of 7.8 million people each month. Bush also wants to restore food stamps to many immigrants who were cut off from the benefits by the 1996 overhaul of federal welfare programs.

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