The American Meat Institute (AMI) today said it opposes $534 million in meat and poultry inspection “user fees” requested for the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) in USDA’s proposed Fiscal Year 2001 budget. AMI also strongly opposes an additional $19 million in user fees for the Packers and Stockyards Administration, including a 27 percent budget increase to investigate the meatpacking industry. In addition, the Institute opposes proposed government funding through USDA of $130 million for livestock processing cooperatives.
“We object to charging our industry half a
billion dollars per year for a
federally-mandated government inspection
program," said AMI President J. Patrick Boyle.
"Charging an industry for its government
oversight program will simply undermine its
regulatory integrity and objectivity."
Boyle also criticized other elements of the
proposed FY2001 USDA budget. "It is a waste of
taxpayer dollars to fund new, government
subsidized meatpacking plants and yet another
round of investigations into our industry's
competitiveness,” said AMI President J.
Patrick Boyle. “More than a decade of USDA
investigations have found our industry to be
operating appropriately and competitively," he
commented, "and the last thing we need is the
Federal government building more food
processing plants. We think the private sector
should build manufacturing plants."
USDA’s proposed FY2001 budget does not
provide new meat and poultry inspectors, but
USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)
announced plans to shift meat and poultry
processing inspection from shift inspections to
random daily inspections, which the
Administration says will save 150 full-time
staff years annually.
every attempt to obtain Congressional approval
for industry-funded federal inspections has
According to Boyle, meat
and poultry inspection is a public health and
safety program required by federal law. The
public, not the meat company, is the designated
beneficiary of federal inspection programs.
He said that if industry were to
pay user fees, there would be no incentive for
the federal government to control inspection
costs because the companies would have to pay
any additional cost incurred by the program.
He also said that such a levy would put meat
and poultry at a competitive disadvantage
compared to other food products.
Calling user fees a “food tax,” he said
that the costs of user fees ultimately may be
passed onto the consumer, who already fund meat
and poultry inspection programs through their
annual federal taxes. “In effect, consumers
are being asked to pay twice in 2001 for the
same level of food safety protection they are
receiving in 2000,” Boyle said.
AMI represents the interests of packers and
processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey
products and their suppliers throughout North
America. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the
Institute provides legislative, regulatory and
public relations services, conducts scientific
and economic research, offers marketing and
technical assistance and sponsors education
American Meat Institute Opposes User Fees, Cooperatives, GIPSA Investigations in FY 2001 BudgetWednesday, February 9, 2000
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Senior VP, Public Affairs