Food safety program remains unfunded

Oct 3, 2008

While the news has been replete with talk about large sums of government money in the last week or so, one UC program considered vitally important by the American Veterinary Medical Association is closing its doors because it couldn't get a cash infusion from the federal government.

AVMA issued a news release yesterday lamenting the impending closure of the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank (FARAD), administered by the USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service and operating out of North Carolina State University, the University of Florida and UC Davis. The Wall Street Journal's Market Watch Web site ran the release.

FARAD needs $2.5 million per year to continue its work. AVMA's release included indignant commentary about the amount in folksy language we're hearing more often from people frustrated with Washington insiders.

"Really, that’s all it needed… less than a penny per American to help make sure that drugs and pesticides don’t end up in our food. A penny per American, folks. That’s it."

The release said AVMA worked with Congress to have the $2.5 million for FARAD inserted in this year's Farm Bill.

"Unfortunately, the USDA never incorporated the funding in its budget, and Congress has provided neither emergency funding, nor passed the agriculture appropriations bill that could have funded the program. Oh and, FDA hasn’t coughed up any pennies either."

AVMA encouraged the public to contact USDA to request FARAD funding be reinstated.

By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist