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Letter opposing user fees

January 30, 2012

 

The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius
Secretary
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20201

The Honorable Jeffrey Zients
Director
Office of Management and Budget
725 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20503

Dear Madame Secretary and Director Zients:

The below signed organizations would like to thank you for your leadership in ensuring America’s food supply remains the safest in the world. As you assist the President in preparing the administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget request, we respectfully ask that you make securing adequate congressional funding for U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food safety activities one of your highest priorities rather than proposing any new food taxes or regulatory fees on consumers and food makers.

Maintaining the safety of the foods we produce is the highest priority of the food makers we represent and should be considered a top national priority. Federal food safety programs and inspections conducted by FDA benefit all American consumers and should be funded through appropriated funds. That is why we applaud the fact that FDA has received significant yearly funding increases since FY 2007, when FDA received an appropriation of approximately $1.6 billion. FDA’s budget has rightfully been increased to $2.5 billion for FY 2012. We particularly appreciate the funding increase received by the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, whose important work has greatly benefited from a $350 million budget increase over the past four years.

As you know, the administration’s FY 2012 budget request proposed raising revenue to fund implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) through new food safety fees. Such fees were rejected during congressional consideration of FSMA and were again rejected last year by congressional appropriators.

As consumers continue to cope with a period of pro-longed economic turbulence and food makers struggle with record high commodity prices, the creation of new food taxes or regulatory fees would mean higher costs for food makers and lead to higher food prices for consumers. As such, we believe imposing new fees on food makers is the wrong option for funding food safety programs.

As you develop a plan to finance food safety oversight for FY 2013, we urge you to request sufficient congressional funding to administer federal food safety programs under FDA’s jurisdiction. We stand ready to work with you and Congress to develop a plan that provides adequate funding to maintain the safest food supply in the world. Thank you for your leadership and consideration of our views.

Sincerely,

American Bakers Association
American Council of Independent Laboratories
American Frozen Food Institute
American Fruit and Vegetables Processors and Growers Coalition
American Meat Institute
Association of Food Industries
California League of Food Processors
Cheese Importers Association of America
Frozen Potato Products Institute
Independent Bakers Association
International Bottled Water Association
Juice Products Association
Midwest Food Processors Association
National Association of Margarine Manufacturers
National Chicken Council
National Confectioners Association
National Fisheries Institute
National Frozen Pizza Institute
National Grain and Feed Association
National Meat Association
National Pasta Association
National Turkey Federation
North American Millers’ Association
Northwest Food Processors Association
Pet Food Institute
Produce Marketing Association
Refrigerated Foods Association
Shelf-Stable Food Processors Association
Snack Food Association
United Egg Producers
United Fresh Produce Association

cc: Chairman and Ranking Member, House Energy and Commerce
Committee
Chairman and Ranking Member, House & Senate Agriculture
Appropriations Committees
Chairman and Ranking Member, Senate Health, Education, Labor and
Pensions Committee
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