FDAmoney_406The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the agriculture appropriations bill for fiscal year 2016 on Thursday after discussing a handful of amendments. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) proposed an amendment to increase the funding allocated for implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), but it was ultimately voted down. This came after referencing the case of Blue Bell Creameries, in which an outbreak of listeriosis linked to the company’s ice cream products sickened 10 people, three of whom died. Blue Bell recalled a year’s worth of products in April. This was just one of the 33 multistate outbreaks connected to FDA-regulated foods that have occurred since FSMA was enacted, Durbin said. “We are not funding the Food and Drug Administration for the necessary implementation and inspections [of FSMA],” said Durbin during the committee markup. “They say that they need $276 million. The president asked for $109 million. Despite the good work of this committee, they fell short and put only $45 million into food safety.” His amendment would have provided nearly $69 million in additional funding for food safety activities within FDA. Ultimately, in a 16-14 party-line vote, Durbin’s amendment went down to defeat. Durbin later said in a statement that he’s “hopeful that as this funding bill moves through the appropriations process, we can work across the aisle to increase the funding.” (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)