MCLEAN, Va. – The US Senate and US House of Representatives were urged by the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) and a coalition of approximately 60 food groups to develop a fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget that funds US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food-safety programs without inflicting consumers and food producers with burdensome new taxes or fees.
“Food safety is the highest priority for America’s food and beverage makers,” said Kraig Naasz, AFFI president and CEO. “We stand ready to work with the administration and Congress to ensure sufficient federal resources are allocated to FDA’s critical food-safety activities without increasing costs for consumers and food makers.”
AFFI and its allies wrote to US Reps. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) and Nita Lowey (D-NY) prior to the March 4 House Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee hearing with FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg stressing Congress had previously rebuffed efforts to impose new regulatory fees on food and beverage makers and distributors to fund FDA’s food-safety programs.
Imposing new food taxes will yield crippling economic effects, the AFFI-led coalition cautioned. “As consumers continue to cope with a period of prolonged economic recovery and food makers and retailers struggle with fluctuating commodity prices, the creation of new food taxes or regulatory fees would mean higher costs for food makers and lead to higher retail food prices for consumers,” the coalition said.
President Obama’s budget proposal calls on FDA to collect $60 million in new food-facility registration and inspection fees from food producers and distributors in the next fiscal year, and another $103 million through a new import inspection fee.
Coalition members joining AFFI on the letter were the Agribusiness Council of Indiana, American Bakers Association, American Beekeeping Federation, American Council of Independent Laboratories, American Dairy Products Institute, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Feed Industry Association, American Fruit and Vegetable Processors and Growers Coalition, American Honey Producers Association, Association of California Egg Farmers, California Grain and Feed Association, California League of Food Processors, Canned Food Alliance, Cheese Importers Association of America, Food Marketing Institute, Frozen Potato Products Institute, Global Cold Chain Alliance, Grain and Feed Association of Illinois, Independent Bakers Association, Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils, International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses, International Bottled Water Association, International Food Additives Council, Juice Products Association, Midwest Food Processors Association, Minnesota Grain and Feed Association, National Association of Manufacturers, National Association of Margarine Manufacturers, National Automatic Merchandising Association, National Confectioners Association, National Fisheries Institute, National Frozen Pizza Institute, National Grain and Feed Association, National Grocers Association, National Pasta Association, National Renderers Association, National Turkey Federation, North American Meat Institute, North American Millers’ Association, Northwest Food Processors Association, Ohio AgriBusiness Association, Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association, Pacific Egg and Poultry Association, Pet Food Institute, Shelf-Stable Food Processors Association, Snack Food Association, Texas Grain and Feed Association, The Association for Dressings & Sauces, The Peanut and Tree Nut Processors Association, United Dairymen of Arizona, United Egg Producers, United Fresh Produce Association, USA Rice Federation and the US Chamber of Commerce and Vinegar Institute.