A group of 44 meat, poultry and livestock organizations have written members of Congress opposing the USDA’s budget proposal requesting user fees for government mandated food safety inspection programs for meat, poultry and egg products. 

The groups said, “These proposed fees represent a food safety tax on consumers and not just a fee on processors.”  USDA’s 2012 budget proposes: 1) a user fee collected from plants for additional inspections and related activities made necessary due to the failure in a performance by the covered establishment, and 2) a food safety services user fee that would recover a part of the cost of providing Food Safety & Inspection Service-related services at covered establishments and plants. USDA will determine need for user fees and coverage, which would be based on facility size. 

In the past, Congress has rejected USDA food safety user fees proposed by various administrations.  Those signing the letter included the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Meat Institute, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Farmers Union, National Meat Association, National Turkey Federation, National Pork Producers Council, National Chicken Council and Untied Egg Association.