March 16/Washington/Professional Services Close-Up -- The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) announced that it and a coalition of 16 food group allies wrote to key leaders of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives urging them to reject a proposal in President Obama's fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget request to impose a new food tax on consumers and food companies.
According to a release, the "food safety fee" proposed by the administration is intended to offset the cost of implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which is expected to cost $300 million annually.
"Food safety is the number-one priority of frozen food producers," said AFFI president and CEO Kraig R. Naasz. "We are committed to helping modernize our nation's food safety system by implementing FSMA, but we believe a new tax on food is the wrong approach for funding that effort."
Rather than saddling businesses and consumers with additional costs, the coalition said full FSMA implementation could best be achieved by providing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration with sufficient funding, rather than relying on "congressionally rejected user fees."
"We urge Congress to reaffirm its stated opposition to imposing new user fees on food producers and stand ready to work with Congress and the administration to find a better and less burdensome solution," the coalition said.
AFFI noted that joining it on the letter were the American Bakers Association, American Meat Institute, Frozen Potato Products Institute, Independent Bakers Association, International Bottled Water Association, National Chicken Council, National Confectioners Association, National Fisheries Institute, National Frozen Pizza Institute, National Grain and Feed Association, National Meat Association, Pet Food Institute, Produce Marketers Association, Snack Food Association, United Egg Producers and United Fresh Produce Association.
From the March 21, 2011, Prepared Foods E-dition