CSPI Urges Stronger FDA and Modernized Food Safety Law

Statement of CSPI Food Safety Director Caroline Smith DeWaal


Just like we wouldn't send the cavalry to fight a modern war, we should not allow the FDA to use out-of-date tools to manage a global food supply. The latest report from the FDA Science Board says that FDA's food program is in critical condition. It "cannot sufficiently monitor either the tremendous volume of products manufactured domestically or the exponential growth of imported products," according to these scientific advisors to FDA. The proof of the report is in the number of food outbreaks and recalls over the last 16 months. Preventing illnesses and outbreaks takes money. Without it, millions of consumers are at increased risk of becoming ill from something they eat.

Working with the Coalition for a Stronger FDA, CSPI is urging the Bush Administration to give FDA a realistic budget request for 2009 that will address this urgent shortfall, and to support the need for a multi-year effort to at least double the FDA's budget within 5 years. FDA needs an increase for next year in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Anything less will fail to address the on-going crisis in consumer confidence, as Americans realize that the FDA is unable to address pressing food safety problems.

CSPI also plans to work with Senator Durbin, Senator Kennedy, Senator Harkin and other members of Congress over the next year to develop legislation that will modernize the food safety mandate at FDA and address structural deficiencies. We are happy to work with members of the food industry and others to develop a plan to address the systematic deficiencies at FDA, but providing immediate and adequate funding to the agency in the near term is critically important.

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