The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is requesting approval to evaluate local and state food safety programs (FSPs), according to a proposal posted to the Federal Register on Friday, Jan. 17. “The current tight fiscal environment faced by U.S. health departments has led to a significant reduction in funding for public health programs, such as food safety,” reads the proposal. “For example, 57 percent of local health departments reduced or eliminated at least one public health program during 2011.” CDC is requesting a two-year approval from the Office of Management and Budget to survey a representative sample of local and state health departments implementing FSPs in the U.S. The agency wants to know about food safety activities, workforce capacity and competency, financial resources, community health and demographics. The data collected will help CDC better understand the relationship between funding and the programs’ effectiveness. The agency has been able to gather insight into the status of FSPs partnered with the Environmental Health Specialists Network (EHS-Net), but there’s a lack of such information on the national level. There are more than 3,000 state and local health departments in the country, and it’s unknown how many would participate in the voluntary survey.