The National Chicken Council, along with 32 other trade organizations, sent a letter yesterday to the leadership of the U.S. House of Representative urging Congress to continue to adequately fund the food safety activities of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), rather than support the imposition of any new food regulatory taxes on consumers and food makers.

The letter pointed out that the recently released 2013 budget plan for FDA includes a proposal to impose a food facility registration fee to fund agency activities required by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  FDA projects it will collect $220 million in fiscal year 2013 from from food producers, makers, and distributors if this new fee is authorized by Congress, the letter pointed out.  In addition, FDA’s 2012 budget proposal also targeted raising revenue from new fees starting in 2013 to assist FDA to implement FSMA, although Congress has previously rejected that approach.

“If FDA requires additional funds to support FSMA implementation, the agency could have included such a request in its fiscal year 2013 budget proposal, rather than seeking authorization of new regulatory taxes, which Congress has twice previously rejected,” the organizations pointed out.

“We stand ready to work with Congress and the administrator to find a better and less burdensome solution.  Imposing new fees on food facilities woudl represent a food safety tax on consumers.  As food companies and consumers continue to cope with a period of prolonged economic turbulence, the creation of a new food tax would mean higher costs for food makers and higher food prices for our consumers.  We urge Congress to adequately fund FDA’s food safety responsibilities and to reaffirm its stated opposition to imposing new regulatory taxes on food producers and consumers,” the letter concluded.