The law firm’s comments come in response to a series of proposed user fees that would see the food industry fund new FDA strategies and on-going operations as part of the agency’s “ever-increasing responsibilities.”
The proposed fees, which were outlined as part of the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Budget Request for the FDA, are yet to be sanctioned.
If approved, the International Courier User Fee, the Food Establishment Registration Fee, the Food Contact Notification User Fee and the Food Export Certification User Fee will be added to the list of pre-existing FDA fees.
“As the agency attempts to launch new procedures and regulations in coming years, a primary source of funding will be from user fees, according to the justification set forth,” said FDAImports.com.
“It’s not that FDA is unfamiliar with user fees, it’s that FDA falsely assumes that the only way they can execute on their mandate is to user-fee the industry to death.”
The FDA Transforming Food Safety Initiative FY2012 budget was boosted to $1.171bn through the collection of food industry fees.
If approved, the Initiative’s FY2013 budget will hit $1.425bn – an increase of $253m on 2012.
User fees from the proposed user fees account for $227.4m of this draft budget increase.
“Not only will businesses have to save up to be able to pay these user fees, but consumers will also be affected.”
“FDA thinks user fees will ‘make it all better’ when in reality they’re getting the industry to pay for a bigger ship that’s still loaded with holes. And we all know what happens to big ships….,” the firm added.
“Ever increasing responsibilities”
The new user-fees have been proposed under the Transforming Food Safety Initiative, which focuses on the prevention of food-borne illnesses in domestic and imported products.
“This initiative asks Congress for the authority to collect novel user fees including the International Courier User Fee, the Food Establishment Registration Fee, and the Food Contact Notification User Fee,” said the firm.
The pFood Establishment Registration Fee will support the implementation of new food safety standards and if approved, fees will be collected from food establishments to offset the $220.2m outlined in the draft budget.
The Food Contact Notification User Fee, for which the FDA has budgeted income of $4.901m for 2013, will support the operations of the Food Contact Notification Program (FCN).
The FDA has also proposed the implementation of a new International Courier Fee, which will address the growing volume of imports entering the US support and increased surveillance requirements.
“FDA’s quest for an increased budget and resources continues, as evidenced by its recently released FY 2013 budget request. As FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg noted in her statement before the Committee on Appropriations, FDA believes that it’s bridging the gap between budget and its ever-increasing responsibilities,” FDAImports.com added.