FDA Responsibilities and Resources

FDA Responsibilities and Resources

FDA Regulates:

  • $417 billion worth of domestic food and $49 billion of imported food1
  • All vegetables, fruits, nuts, dairy products, breads, cereals and fresh eggs2 
  • 136,000 domestic food facilities, including manufacturers, processors and warehouses including storage tanks and grain elevators3 
  • Two million farms, 935,000 restaurants and institutional food-service establishments, and 114,000 supermarkets, grocery stores and other food outlets 4 
  • One hundred and eighty-nine thousand foreign facilities are registered to manufacture, process, pack or hold food Americans eat5 

FDA Lacks Resources to Keep Nation's Food Safe:

  • FDA accounted for only 24 percent of the $1.7 billion federal agencies spent on food safety activities in FY 2003 6
  • FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) staffing declined 14 percent between  FY 2003 and FY 2006, from 950 staff years to 8127 FDA's field inspection staff responsible for food safety enforcement declined 11.5 percent between  FY 2003 and FY 2006, from 2,217 staff years to 1,962 8
  • Inspections of the 189,000 foreign food firms declined from 211 in FY 2001 to fewer than 100 in fiscal year 20079
  • FDA estimates that it inspects food manufacturers once every 10 years10 


1HHS, FDA Food Protection Plan, An integrated strategy for protecting the nation's food supply,(2007)6. 
6House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, American Lives Still at Risk: When Will FDA’s Food Protection Plan Be Fully Funded and Implemented?  110th Cong. Sess.2 June 12, 2008.
7HHS, FDA, Science Board to the FDA, Report of the Subcommittee on Science and Technology, FDA Science and Mission at Risk (2007), available here.
8House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, American Lives Still at Risk, June 12, 2008.
10FDA, Science Board to the FDA (2007) 3, available here. - See more at: http://www.pewhealth.org/reports-analysis/issue-briefs/fda-responsibilities-and-resources-85899368582#sthash.AuOnlbd7.dpuf