October 3, 2008
Despite extensive efforts by America's veterinarians to convince Congress, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration to provide long-term funding, a critical food safety resource is permanently shutting down, leaving in the lurch information essential to protecting America's food supply.
The Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank (FARAD) -- used by veterinarians, livestock producers and state and federal regulatory and extension specialists to ensure that drug, environmental and pesticide contaminants do not end up in meat, milk and eggs -- began shutting down. The program needed an immediate cash infusion to stay open and, ultimately, long-term funding of $2.5 million per year.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has been leading efforts to fund FARAD, which is administered by the USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service and operates out of North Carolina State University, the University of Florida and the University of California-Davis.
Through lobbying and grassroots efforts, AVMA worked with Congress to have language authorizing FARAD at $2.5 million inserted in this year's Farm Bill. USDA, however, never incorporated the funding in its budget, and Congress has provided neither emergency funding nor appropriations.
A last-ditch hope of keeping FARAD from completely closing is for USDA or stakeholders to fund the program. AVMA is planning an emergency stakeholder meeting to discuss the future of FARAD. Reprinted in part from USAHA News Alerts