The Food Safety Modernization Act implementation is going slower than expected, and it’s starting to look like the cliche of everyone pointing the finger at someone else.

The produce industry has said for nearly a decade that it needs federal food safety oversight, so the Food and Drug Administration began work and came up with FSMA.

But the industry would prefer not to have user fees pay for it.

Congress has said a new food safety system must be put in place, but it has rejected user fees to pay for it.

Now two Democratic U.S. representatives sent a letter to FDA asking it to stop requesting user fees and request full funding for the program from Congress. 

Call us skeptical, but it seems a little political for two Democrats to send this in the summer before a contentious election that could see the Senate switch from a Democratic to a Republican majority, while the House stays firmly Republican.

Is a new-to-power Republican Congress likely to authorize a large spending increase for food safety proposed by Democrats?

If user fees need to be part of the negotiation, so be it, but it’s too risky to give the impression to consumers that the produce industry doesn’t take food safety seriously.

It can’t sit quietly and allow FSMA to be a pawn in the endless partisan bickering.

The funding solution needs to be bipartisan, so the industry needs to engage Republicans and see what their solutions are, and then hold them to it.

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