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Industry groups urge federal funding for food safety

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 31-Jan-2012
Last updated on 31-Jan-2012 at 15:46 GMT

Industry groups urge federal funding for food safety

An industry coalition led by the American Frozen Foods Institute (AFFI) has urged the Obama administration to adequately fund food safety initiatives, without levying extra taxes or industry fees.

More than 30 food industry groups and trade associations signed the letter to US Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Jeffrey Zients, in which they requested the development of a fiscal 2013 budget proposal that fully funds Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food safety programs.

“Federal food safety programs and inspections conducted by FDA benefit all American consumers and should be funded through appropriated funds,” the letter said.

The groups praised recent FDA budget increases, including a $350m budget increase for the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition over the past four years. The FDA’s budget has increased from $1.6bn in FY2007 to $2.5bn in FY2012, and was among just a handful of government agencies to receive any budget increase for the current fiscal year. For 2012 it has been granted an increase of $50m – with $39m of that intended to fund provisions of the year-old Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

They also highlighted a proposal in the administration’s fiscal 2012 budget request, which would have raised revenue through new food safety fees in order to implement FSMA. These proposed fees were rejected by Congress.

“As consumers continue to cope with a period of prolonged 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 letter said.

Along with the AFFI, among the more than 30 signatories to the letter were: the American Bakers Association, the American Meat Institute, the Association of Food Industries, the National Confectioners Association, the National Fisheries Institute, and United Egg Producers.

A copy of the letter is available here .

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