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Food industry writes against food safety taxes

The American Frozen Food Institute and a coalition of more than 30 food groups today urged the Obama administration not to include any user fees in writing the budget request for the Food and Drug Administration.

In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Office of Management Acting Director Jeffrey Zients, the AFFI-led coalition noted that the administration’s fiscal year 2012 budget request had proposed new fees to fund implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Such food safety 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,” the groups said in the letter.

The letter praised recent FDA budget increases, noting that the agency’s budget has grown from $1.6 billion in fiscal year 2007 to $2.5 billion in fiscal year 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,” the coalition said.