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AMI Urges Congress Against Using FDA 'User Fees' to Pay for Food Safety Modernization Act

Friday, March 11, 2011

(American Meat Institute)

In a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Related Agencies Subcommittee on Appropriations, the American Meat Institute (AMI) and 16 other food and beverage trade associations urged the committee against using FDA “user fees” to pay for implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

President Obama signed FSMA into law on January 4, 2011. FDA’s 2012 budget proposal released by the administration on February 14 targets raising revenue from these new fees starting in 2013 to assist FDA implement the new law.  Congress rejected such fees during congressional consideration of FSMA.

“While ensuring the safety of the U.S. food supply is the number one priority of our organizations and the food producers we represent, we urge you to reject any efforts to create a new food tax on consumers and food companies,” the groups wrote. 

The letter notes that the White House has requested targeted funds for FSMA’s implementation of $100 million for 2012. However, congressional budget experts predict it will take at least $300 million a year to implement.

“Given that discrepancy, the administration should have requested more funds for FDA in their budget submission rather than relying on congressionally rejected user fees to make up the difference,” the letter continued.  “Imposing new fees on food facilities would represent a food safety tax on consumers. As food companies and consumers continue to cope with a period of pro-longed economic turbulence, the creation of a new food tax would mean higher costs for businesses and higher food prices for consumers.”

“We urge Congress to reaffirm its stated opposition to imposing new user fees on food producers and stand ready to work with Congress and the administration to find a better and less burdensome solution,” the letter concluded. 

The House Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA and Related Agencies Subcommittee on Appropriations is holding a hearing today on the president's 2011 budget request for FDA. 

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