It’s not every day constituents ask the federal government for something and the government actually listens.
 
Well, score one for participatory democracy.
 
The Food and Drug Administration is awarding $30.9 million to help 43 states become Food Safety Modernization Act compliant.
 
Back in March, 21 organizations — the United Fresh Produce Association and Produce Marketing Association among them — sent a letter to the top two budget writers in the House and the Senate, making the case for adequately funding the Food Safety Modernization Act.
 
Funding for food safety has been adequate in recent years, and the organizations sought to ensure that remains the case through FSMA’s rollout.
 
Industry concerns about FSMA’s new audits, procedures and practices backed by the enforcement power of federal regulators are legitimate, and industry trade associations representing fresh fruits and vegetables and other food industry stakeholders were wise to ask Congress to provide adequate funding for FSMA implementation.
 
The latest round of funding may signal a welcome trend: This is the second funding influx for this purpose, following $21.8 million the FDA doled out to 42 states in September.
 
Funding allows states to develop and implement produce safety programs and to provide education, outreach and technical assistance.
 
The produce business must make sure its voice continues to be heard on this issue.
 
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