Statement of CSPI Food Safety Director Caroline Smith DeWaal
Following a year when the FDA’s food program was characterized as “high risk” by the Government Accountability Office and cited by FDA’s own Science Board as an agency that “does not have the capacity to ensure the safety of food for the nation,” the Bush Administration’s “food protection” initiative is little more than shadow boxing against unsafe imports. A $32 million increase proposed for fiscal year 2009 for the agency’s food science and inspection programs translates into a bare-bones increase of only $2 million when adjusted for the agency’s typical inflationary cost (6 percent). And while food safety is highlighted as an important area, if the agency has shortfalls elsewhere, it will likely move this money from foods to drugs or devices. The 2009 President’s budget fails to reverse the history of starving this critical public health agency of essential resources.