IFT Comments Requesting Supplement to FDA's FY2009 Budget

March 6, 2008

Dear Chairwoman DeLauro and Ranking Member Kingston:

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is an international, not-for-profit society for food science and technology with 22,000 members working throughout the profession in academia, industry, and government. As such, we appreciate the opportunity to offer testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, and we ask that this letter be included within the Subcommittee’s record.

Because of IFT’s mission of advancing the science of food to ensure a safe and abundant food supply, we believe that the President’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) budget request for fiscal year 2009 needs to be supplemented. As expressed in a conclusion reached earlier this year, the FDA is not adequately positioned to meet its regulatory responsibilities. Increasing demands outpace inadequate resources designed to protect food consumers. It is therefore imperative that substantial resources be made available to the agency to restore its scientific capability and capacity, enabling it to fulfill its mission and meet regulatory responsibilities effectively.

Given the challenges associated with globalization of the food supply, current and emerging food safety issues, and the importance of food defense, it is crucial that the FDA have sufficient resources. The science base of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and the Center for Veterinary Medicine and related inspection and enforcement functions need rebuilding to a level commensurate with regulatory responsibilities. Not only is the updating of internal expertise necessary, but leveraging the expertise and research programs of external partners through extramural collaboration is needed to ensure that the FDA’s scientific needs are met.

In addition, FDA requires increased funding to confront the next generation of challenges. Nanoscale science, genetic engineering, and cloning technology are examples of emerging areas that have great potential to impact the food industry. To fulfill its mission, the FDA must be able to fully address the potential health benefits and safety issues of such emerging technologies and scientific advances and engage in cutting-edge research.

A strong science base and a commitment to ensuring a safe food supply are critical to effective decisionmaking among domestic and international constituencies. Additional resources must be made available to the FDA to enable it to provide the necessary oversight and regulation of the food system. As always, IFT remains available to provide scientific and technical expertise and assistance to FDA as desired.

Sincerely,

Barbara Byrd Keenan, CAE
Executive Vice President

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