The National Chicken Council, along with 25 other food and agriculture organizations, sent a letter this week to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or “Super Committee,” expressing their opposition to user fees for federal inspection of meat, poultry, and egg products.

The letter pointed out that “food safety inspection benefits everyone and therefore should be paid for through appropriation funds, ” despite the fact that the administration’s fiscal year 2012 USDA budget proposal requests user fees for government-mandated food safety inspection programs required by federal law.  “In reality, these fees represent a food safety tax on consumers and not just a fee on processors,” the letter said.

The groups noted that with the price of commodities rising and job growth hovering at zero, inspection fees will impact the price of meat.  Low and middle-income families will be hit the hardest by the tax, because such families spend a higher portion of their income on food than do wealthier Americans.

“We applaud your efforts to formulate a budget plan that will finance the federal government in a fiscally sound manner and urge Congress to continue to oppose proposals to assess new user fees, either in whole, or in part, to fund federally mandated meat, poultry, or egg product inspection,” the letter concluded.