FDA Details Key Priorities in Fiscal 2020 Budget
The Food and Drug Administration shed light on the agency’s priorities for federal food safety activities and programs. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., and Frank Yiannis, deputy commissioner, said in a joint statement that the request for more funding in the fiscal 2020 budget, "…will allow the agency to add new staff and resources to enhance signal detection, response to outbreaks and post-response evaluations.”
The FDA is proposing more money to support whole genome sequencing (W.G.S.), which the agency said has been a game-changer for the way food safety investigators address pathogen contamination in foods.
"This technology has made it easier to determine the source of contaminated food associated with human illness, and to better identify foodborne outbreaks that previously would have gone undetected,” the FDA said. "W.G.S. continues to be put into widespread use as the technology itself becomes more accessible, affordable, and much less bulky. We need to expand our use of these modern tools.”
Thanks to W.G.S. technology, the workload at the FDA has increased as W.G.S. enables investigators to detect more outbreaks and launch investigations. In fact, the number of potential human food safety outbreaks evaluated by the agency nearly doubled in fiscal years 2017 and 2018 compared with fiscal years 2015 and 2016, according to the FDA.
"The increase requested in the 2020 budget will allow the agency to add new staff and resources to enhance signal detection, response to outbreaks and post-response evaluations,” the FDA explained.
Another area in need of more funding is in the review of new food products and ingredients. The FDA said the agency’s goal is to improve the speed with which these reviews are completed, "…eliminate unnecessary burdens to industry related to the pre-market safety reviews of these food ingredients.”
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