This year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was allocated an additional $27.5 million for food safety activities, and, under the president’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2016, the agency would get another $109.5 million. In a Tuesday FDA blog post, Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Michael Taylor explained why the increase in funding is needed for implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). “Now we’re at a critical juncture as Congress considers the funding that will help transform all the plans and preparations we’ve shared with you into protections that will greatly reduce the number of illnesses caused by contaminated foods and greatly increase consumer confidence in the safety of our food supply,” Taylor wrote. Taylor highlighted some of the areas of FSMA work that require additional funding. FDA will deploy inspectors who are specialized in specific food commodities, he said, but more than 2,000 inspectors, compliance officers and other staff will need to be retrained for this. The agency needs to hire additional experts to ensure that guidance documents to help industry meet FSMA requirements are based on “the best science and knowledge of industry practices,” Taylor wrote. He noted that approximately 300,000 farmers, processors and importers could be subject to the final rules, so FDA wants to make a “substantial investment” in education and technical assistance. FDA needs to continue building partnerships with states, Taylor said, and wants to provide them with funding for inspector training, information sharing capacity, state laboratory coordination, and inspector certification programs. Last on the list — the Foreign Supplier Verification Program — will require increased FDA staffing and training for investigative and compliance and training and technical assistance for importers. “The bottom line is that without investment now, and sustained funding afterwards, there is the risk that the implementation of FSMA will be uneven or even delayed,” Taylor wrote. “This would be bad for everyone, including those who must meet the new standards and those who must enforce them. Most importantly, it would be bad for consumers, who want to be sure that the foods they are eating and serving their families are safe.”