Can Efforts to Develop an Integrated Food Safety System Advance in the Face of State Budget Crises?

July 19, 2011

By Ricardo Carvajal

The integration of federal and state food safety systems is one of the goals of the Food Safety Modernization Act.  To that end, FDA recently announced the availability of grant funding to help with the “design, development, delivery, and maintenance of a national food/feed training program” to ensure “a competent workforce doing comparable work at all levels of the integrated food system.”

Budgetary realities suggest that the effort might not go smoothly.  Minnesota, generally regarded to be in the vanguard of states that prioritize food safety, was recently forced to designate critical services that would continue to be provided during that state government’s shutdown. Food safety and disease outbreak investigation and response made the cut, albeit “with limited staff.”  Conditions could be similarly grim in other states, particularly given that the playing field was not level even before the economic downturn.

Doubtless FDA will push forward.  An Agenda for Strengthening State and Local Roles in the Nation’s Food Safety System was laid out by Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael Taylor before he assumed that mantle at FDA – and when the FSMA was just a gleam in the eyes of its sponsors.