The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has joined more than 40 meat and poultry groups in opposing the Obama Administration’s Fiscal Year 2013 USDA budget proposal. Just as in previous years, this request calls for user fees for government-mandated food safety inspection programs for meat, poultry and egg products.

The signees declared: “These proposed fees represent a food safety tax on consumers and not just a fee on processors.”

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) budget summary includes the administration’s intent to submit legislation to establish new user fees or taxes, according to the letter circulated by the American Meat Institute, submitted by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (R-MI), chairwoman of  the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

Two areas of concern are outlined below:

·        A user fee collected from plants for additional inspections and related activities made necessary due to the failure in performance by the covered establishment

·        A food safety services user fee that would recover a part of the cost of providing FSIS-related services at covered establishments and plants, as determined by the agriculture secretary and based on the facility size.

“Meat, poultry and egg product inspection is a public health and safety program required by federal law and has been funded through tax dollars for over a century,” the letter said. “Food safety inspection benefits everyone and therefore should be paid for through appropriate funds, which previous Congresses have agreed with,” the co-signees of the letter said.

In this fragile economy, the proposed food safety tax could put jobs at risk and raises prices for consumers.

To read the entire letter, go to http://www.meatami.com/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/76073.