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FDA hopes the increase would boost the agency's control over imported food products.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that it is requesting a budget of $4.7 billion in fiscal 2014 to ensure that public health in the United States is protected and promoted.

Compared to last year's budget, which totaled $4.03 billion, the FDA is requesting more funds. It hopes that the increase would support the effective implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and boost the agency's control over imported food products. According to the FDA, 94 percent of the budget increase would be funded by industry user fees.

Although the agency requested more money, it still announced plans to make up at least partially for the increase by reducing spending on a number of areas, including a $15 million cut in budget for human drug, biologics and medical device programs. Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of Food and Drugs, commented that the FDA budget request was in line with the tight U.S. budget and with austerity programs in place. The proposed increases would be directed at areas that would not only improve service to patients and consumers but would also support the U.S. economy. Thanks to the work of FDA officials, U.S. citizens would receive safe life-saving drugs approved fast, as well as confidence in the medical products they use and food which is among the safest in the world, she added.

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The 2014 budget covers the period between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014. During this period the FDA would allocate the budget increase in several areas, with the biggest emphasis and the largest part of the funds, $295.8 million more than the 2012 budget, allocated on reforming the food safety system. The majority of this increase is needed to implement the FSMA, which will see the introduction of a food facility registration and inspection fee and a food importer fee. In addition, the FDA is planning to introduce new user fees to back its cosmetic and food contact substance notification programs.

A further $17.9 million of the proposed budget increase would be used for the redevelopment and refurbishment of the Life Sciences-Biodefense Complex, the FDA's White Oak headquarters in Silver Spring, Md., where up-to-date scientific research would be carried out. The FDA would supervise and control all products it regulates more efficiently and would ensure a better protection of public health, the agency said.

An extra $10 million would be allocated to expand the agency's capacity to detect and deal with potential risks stemming from products and ingredients manufactured in China, as the FDA is determined to make sure that these products pose no threat to U.S. consumers. Additionally, the FDA has requested $3.5 million more for supporting the medical countermeasures (MCM) initiative and meeting criteria for security and public health MCM readiness.