Beef Magazine is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

A Food Safety Tax For Consumers?

images.jpg "A coalition of 17 food industry groups has written to key leaders in Congress urging them to reject increased user fees to fund the Food Safety Modernization Act. The Food Safety Modernization Act was signed into law in January, and its implementation is expected to cost $1.4 billion over five years. However, funding for the legislation has been called into doubt, as a GOP budget proposal for the remainder of fiscal 2011 includes significant spending cuts to food regulatory agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Agriculture Department’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)," writes Caroline Scott-Thomas for the Food Navigator-USA.

According to the article, Industry Urges Congress To Reject User Fees To Fund Food Safety, the FDA has proposed about $100 million of annual funding for the program to come through increased user fees for plant inspections and registration of food production facilities, although it hasn’t detailed the exact nature of such fees. In a letter to Congress, see it here, a coalition of food-industry groups urged legislators “to reject any efforts to create a new food tax on consumers and food companies.” Included in the coalition are: American Bakers Association, American Frozen Food Institute, American Meat Institute, Frozen Potato Products Institute, Independent Bakers Association, International Bottled Water Association, National Chicken Council, National Confectioners Association, National Fisheries Institute, National Frozen Pizza Institute, National Grain and Feed Association, National Meat Association, Pet Food Institute, Produce Marketers Association, Snack Food Association, United Egg Producers, and the United Fresh Produce Association.

The coalition argues that “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.”

So what are your thoughts on these questions?

• When the government unilaterally mandates a program, is it right to ask the regulated entities to pick up the bill?

• Conversely, in light of the huge federal deficit and calls for everyone to share the pain of deficit reduction, is it too much to ask the food business and consumers to kick in?

• Do you think the Food Modernization Act is necessary, and will it result in higher food prices?

Just some food for thought this Thursday. I would love to hear your input.