Until Food Safety News Managing Editor Coral Beach called me recently to talk about the relationship between the FDA’s budget and that of the entire federal government, it had been a while since I had considered the subject.

If I remember correctly, an old General Accounting Office (GAO) report said that 15 federal agencies are involved in food safety.  FDA, CDC, and USDA are among the best known, but others have niche roles.

In a perfect world, it would be possible to collect the food safety expenditures of all those agencies to keep track of it. Budgets are essential because budgets are policy.

When the Executive Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently came out with the President’s request for fiscal year 2025, Congress was still slogging through deadlines for potential government shutdowns because the FY 2024 budget remained unfinished business.

At a minimum, monitoring the federal budget requires keeping track of the historical, the current moving target, and future requests in mind.  However, what’s far more confusing is how the federal budgets are presented.

Before I go further, I need to call out The Alliance for a Stronger FDA for its budget analysis and timely speakers on these issues. The Alliance has provided me with a document that even I can understand.

From it, I’ve learned that the FDA’s food safety budget is $1.186 billion this year and that the President has put it in for a $61 million FY 2025 increase, which would take it to $1.247 billion.

Interestingly, that’s also in the neighborhood for USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). A billion here and a billion there, and it starts to add up for food safety.

But nothing about this is easy. Federal budget documents seem to get away with showing dollar increases over broad areas of spending.  You often scratched your head and wondered, “If Hank did it this way.”

Someday, I want to provide our readers with the total budgets of all those federal agencies with a food safety role. I just can’t today.

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