Congress's recent approval of $3.8 billion in funding for the Food and Drug Administration, a 3% increase over last year's level, was largely the result of an unsual alliance of major food makers and consumer advocates, reports The Washington Post.
The shared goal: Preventing budget cuts for the agency as it prepares to implement the landmark food-safety bill that was passed by the previous Congress. Food makers know all too well the devastating effects of food-borne illness outbreaks on affected foods, such as spinach and peanuts, and the products that contain them.
Face-to-face lobbying of lawmakers by teams of executives from food companies and advocacy groups was combined with advertising by the Alliance for a Stronger FDA, whose member groups include the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the American Frozen Food Institute, the Snack Food Association and the Produce Marketing Association.
"It's not every day that a member of Congress sees somebody from a large food company come in with a consumer roup to ask for more resources [for a government regulatory agency]," noted Erik Olson, director of food programs for the Pew Health Group.
The largest portion of the total additional funding for the FDA, some $39 million, is earmarked for the food safety program, according to the Post. -- Karlene Lukovitz