Late Saturday night, the U.S. Senate passed a $1.1-trillion spending package to fund most of the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year. The vote count on the so-called “cromnibus” was a bipartisan 56-40.
On Thursday, President Barack Obama stated he would sign the bill despite the administration’s objections to certain riders and disappointment that the bill will only fund the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 27, 2015.
To remind you how the bill will affect food safety, here’s Food Safety News’ overview from Friday:
A little more than $1.016 billion is allocated to USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) in the cromnibus — a compromise between the $1.005 billion and the $1.023 billion called for by the House and Senate agriculture appropriations bills, respectively.
The bill provides almost $2.6 billion in discretionary funding for the Food and Drug Administration, including $903 million for the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and $147 million for the Center for Veterinary Medicine. This includes an increase of $27.5 million over 2014 enacted funding levels for food-safety activities, which is at least $2.5 million more than the House and Senate had added in their original agriculture appropriations.
It maintains provisions to prevent funding for inspections of horse slaughter plants and prevent poultry processed in China from being used in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program.
The cromnibus also directs FSIS, in conjunction with other USDA agencies and FDA, “to support developing technologies that will provide rapid, portable, and facile screening of food fish species at port sites and wholesale and retail centers” in order to counter economic fraud and improve the safety of the country’s seafood supply.
And USDA and the U.S. Trade Representative will be required to make recommendations to Congress by May 1 on changes that must be made to bring country-of-origin labeling (COOL) for beef, pork and poultry into compliance with World Trade Organization obligations.
Under a different division of the bill, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases will be allocated $353 million in discretionary appropriations — nearly $48 million of which goes toward food safety.
An increase of $8 million for food safety is for advancing diagnostic capabilities using DNA technology and enhancing surveillance, detection and prevention efforts at the state and local level.