resident Bush will seek record-level support for USDA’s meat and poultry food safety programs as well as increase efforts to strengthen agricultural protection systems in his fiscal year 2004 budget.

USDA’s food safety budget will increase to $797 million, an increase of $42 million over 2003. This represents a $148 million, or 20 percent increase in food safety programs since 2000.

In addition, USDA’s budget will include $70 million in new funding through other USDA programs to strengthen agricultural protection systems.

USDA Secretary Ann Veneman outlined the following details that will be contained in USDA’s fiscal year 2004 budget for food safety and agricultural protection systems:

  • $42 million increase to provide funding for USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service to fund 7,680 food safety inspectors, provide specialized training for the inspection workforce, increase microbiological testing and sampling, strengthen foreign surveillance programs and increase public education efforts;
  • $23 million increase for Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service programs for inspections at certain ports of entry; increase in the availability of foot and mouth disease vaccines; and an expansion of diagnostic and other scientific and technical services;
  • $47 million increase for USDA’s various research agencies for strengthening laboratory security measures; conducting additional research on emerging animal diseases; new vaccine development; new biosecurity database systems; and continued development of the unified Federal-State Diagnostic Network for identifying and responding to high-risk biological pathogens.

American Meat Institute