The Dean of the House of Representatives is calling on Congress to ‘adequately fund’ the U.S. Food and Drug Administration so it can implement the sweeping food safety law President Obama signed in January.

Representative John Dingell (D-MI), the Dean of the House of Representatives, sent a letter to the leadership of both the House Committee on the Budget and the House Committee on Appropriations, requesting that they “immediately” provide the funding needed to implement the “urgently needed” provisions for the newly enacted FDA Food Safety Modernization Act law, a move the Congressional Budget Office reports will require approximately $1.4 billion in additional funds over the next five years.

Reports indicate that Dingell is deeply concerned that a recently unveiled GOP budget plan would “withhold funding” to implement FDA's new mandate, which he strongly backs. “Recent events, such as eggs contaminated with Salmonella and ground beef contaminated with E. coli, have shown the pressing need to ensure our nation's food supply remains safe to eat,” Dingell writes in the letter, sources state.

He also pointed to a recently updated estimate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that every year, 48 million Americans suffer a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die.

“It is demonstrably clear that preventing the outbreaks of foodborne illness is far less costly to our government, business and society than allowing them to occur,” added Dingell.