WASHINGTON – Seventeen trade groups, including the National Chicken Council, sent a letter last week to the leadership of the House Committee on Appropriations, the House Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA and related agencies asking them to reject imposing new “food safety fees” to fund the implementation of the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

raising revenue from new fees starting in 2013 to assist FDA in implementing FSMA is included in FDA’s 2012 proposed budget. Although the administration has yet to detail the exact nature of the fees it seeks, the letter states that Congress already rejected such fees during congressional consideration of the FSMA.

“While ensuring the safety of the US food supply is the number-one priority of our organizations and the food producers we represent, we urge you to reject any efforts to create a new food tax on consumers and food companies as the House Appropriations Committee prepares to markup the fiscal year 2012 agriculture appropriations bill,” the groups said.

The letter added that imposing new fees on food facilities would represent a food-safety tax on consumers and would mean higher costs for businesses and higher food prices for consumers. Therefore, “we urge Congress to reaffirm its opposition to imposing new user fees on food producers, and to work with Congress and the administration to find a better and less burdensome solution,” the trade groups concluded.

Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee Harold Rogers (R-KY) and Ranking Member Norm Dicks (D-WA), as well as Jack Kingston (R-GA), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies, and Ranking Member Sam Farr (D-CA) were all recipients of this letter.