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Meat Inspection "User Fee" Actually Food Safety Tax, Says AMI

Monday, February 6, 2006

The following statement should be attributed to J. Patrick Boyle, President and CEO, American Meat Institute:

“Efforts to force consumers to pay a food safety tax for meat inspection, euphemistically called a “user fee” in the congressional budget, will cost hardworking Americans more money for the food they eat and undermine public confidence about the government’s commitment to food safety.

Federal meat and poultry inspection is a public health and safety program required by federal law and funded through tax dollars already being collected from consumers. The public is the designated beneficiary of these programs. The additional food safety tax will be added during food inspection, and charged directly to meat and poultry processors, who will be forced to pass at least part of the cost onto consumers. Forcing consumers to shoulder a duplicate tax to pay for federally mandated inspections is not only double dipping in consumers’ pockets, but raises clear questions, domestically and abroad, about the independence of food inspections in the United States.

There is one point that consumers and industry all agree on: user fees for meat inspection are a bad idea. Because companies, not the government, will be forced to shoulder the burden of this duplicative tax, there will be no incentive for the federal government to control inspection costs, resulting in higher food prices The user fee “tax” would put meat and poultry at a competitive disadvantage compared to other food products that do not pay these inspection taxes.”

For more information contact:
David Ray
Vice President, Public Affairs
Janet Riley
Sr. Vice President, Public Affairs

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