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User Fees for Meat and Poultry Inspection Will Add Costs to Growing Grocery Bills

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Washington, D.C. – Feb. 5, 2008 - A proposal in USDA’s proposed Fiscal Year 2009 budget to require meat and poultry processors to pay “user fees” for the inspections normally covered by the federal government “holds the potential to undermine the public’s confidence in the government’s commitment to food safety,” said American Meat Institute President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle. Boyle noted that the proposed food safety tax will foist added costs on meat and poultry producers and their products while they are already seeing pressure from rising feed prices fueled by the ethanol mandate. “And unfortunately, a tax on necessary food items hurts the working poor and disadvantaged the most,” he added.

Boyle called the proposed user fee “double dipping,” pointing out that federal meat and poultry inspection is a key public health and safety program required by federal law and funded through tax dollars already being collected from consumers. Boyle added that depending on user fees to fund such a key component of the food safety system “may raise clear questions, domestically and abroad, about the independence and efficacy of food inspections in the U.S.”

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