WASHINGTON – U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt announced Tuesday that the Bush Administration is amending its budget request to add an additional $275 million for the Food and Drug Administration.

A statement from the FDA said that $125 million of the money will be used to improve safety.

“Last year we outlined important changes in how this nation deals with imports. We are moving from an intervention strategy – where we stand at the border and try to catch things that are unsafe – to an integrated strategy of prevention with verification. We are rolling the borders back and seeking to build safety and quality into products at every step of the way before they reach American consumers,” Leavitt said.

The increase allows the agency to intensify actions to implement FDA’s Food Protection Plan, the FDA said. Announced on November 6, 2007, the Food Protection Plan is an integrated, risk-based strategy to help ensure the safety of domestic and imported food and feed. The $125 million increase adds to the $42.2 million increase proposed for food protection in the budget announced in February 2008.

According to the statement, the increase will allow the FDA to significantly expand its reach beyond American borders by establishing a presence in five countries or regions and by implementing other measures that will help ensure greater foreign compliance with FDA standards; offer expedited entry for goods bearing certification by trusted parties; modernize its information technology infrastructure and allow the agency to conduct at least 1,000 more foreign inspections of food and medical product facilities and n additional 1,000 domestic inspections with funds in the budget amendment.