Proposed food-safety legislation concerns G.M.A.
May 28, 2009
by Bryan Salvage
WASHINGTON — In response to draft food-safety legislation recently released by House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman, Congressman Henry Waxman, the Grocery Manufacturers Association said through a statement it is concerned the proposed legislation would result in new fees for food companies.
"Food safety is our number-one priority and we share the broad goals of the draft legislation released by Chairman Waxman. The bill contains many of G.M.A.'s food-safety proposals, and we look forward to working with the chairman to enact food-safety legislation that makes prevention of contamination the foundation of our food-safety strategies," the statement said.
Congress has already increased food-safety spending from $439 million to $649 million over the last three years, G.M.A. added. If Congress enacts the FY 2010 request proposed by F.D.A. and the Obama Administration, F.D.A.'s food-safety appropriations would increase to $783 million — an increase of more than 78% in four years.
"Those appropriated funds would allow the F.D.A. to more frequently inspect every food- manufacturing facility in the nation," the statement continued. "We are concerned that the draft legislation released by Chairman Waxman proposes significant new fees on food companies and ultimately consumers at a time when they can least afford it and in the face of an unprecedented increase in appropriated funding for F.D.A. food-safety activities."
G.M.A. said it is also concerned about the inherent conflict of interest created by asking industry to fund government inspections and about provisions that increase the cost of food without improving the safety of the food supply.
"Our industry is increasing its investment in food safety and is prepared to make additional investments to continually improve the safety of our food supplies. We look forward to working with the committee to enact food-safety legislation that boosts consumer confidence and addresses the challenges posed by today's global and complex food supply," the statement concluded.