11/30/2011 - An unusual alliance of consumer advocates and industry groups won a victory this month when they helped persuade Congress to boost funding for the Food and Drug Administration, while most other programs paid for by a newly passed agriculture spending bill had their money slashed.
That alliance engaged in an old-style shoe leather campaign to prevent spending cuts for the FDA as the agency prepares to carry out a landmark food safety bill that was adopted by the previous Congress. The effort included at least four dozen visits to congressional offices and grass-roots events in the districts of key lawmakers involved in spending decisions, as well as advertisements in Capitol Hill newspapers.
This month, after weeks of haggling, Congress increased the agency’s funding by nearly 3 percent from last year’s level to $3.8 billion. Of all the additional money FDA secured, the new food safety program captured the largest amount: $39 million.
“Having consumers who were directly affected by food-borne illnesses standing shoulder to shoulder with the food industry sent a powerful message,” said Erik Olson, director of food programs at the Pew Health Group. “It’s not every day that a member of Congress sees somebody from a large food company come in with a consumer group to ask for more resources.”
Read the full article, FDA Funding Boosted Through Lobbying Effort, on the Washington Post's Web site.