The Pew Charitable Trusts commended Congressman Tom Latham (R-IA) last week for his leadership in securing approximately $27 million in additional food safety funding for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the appropriations bill that is moving through the House.
As Food Safety News reported Friday, the food safety funding boost was approved as part of a $19.5 billion agricultural appropriations bill that cleared the full House Appropriations Committee Thursday.
“We’re delighted that Rep. Latham, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, continues to make food safety a clear priority. He understands that food safety programs are crucial to consumers and to the hardworking farm families who grow our crops,” said Erik Olson, senior director of Pew’s food programs. “Outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, such as the salmonella in cantaloupe that sickened 15 Iowans last year, can shake consumer confidence and cost agricultural producers millions. This new funding would help strengthen prevention efforts and protect consumers and producers alike.”
In polling they conducted last year, Pew found that 73 percent of Iowans favored an increase in funding for FDA food safety programs for 2013, indicating that support was bipartisan.
Pew has also highlighted foodborne illness victims in Iowa to make the case for more funding for food safety.
“My daughter died at the age of 14 after being sickened by E. coli poisoning, and as a result, I know the horrors of foodborne illness all too well,” said Dana Boner of Monroe, IA. “This funding increase is a step in the right direction, and I appreciate Rep. Latham’s continued commitment to food safety.”
In a release, Pew noted that although the Senate version of the bill has included increased food safety funding for the past three years, this increase in the House bill marks the first time in three years the House Appropriations Committee has initiated significant new dollars for FDA food safety.
The House bill is expected to see floor action as early as next week. The Senate version of the appropriations bill is scheduled for committee markup next week.