The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) became law in January, but its actual impact depends largely on how it is implemented, which is a function of both the funding and the agencys rules.
The first step, funding, is in progress. While the news headlines are focused on the fight over the continuing resolution needed to keep the government running in the short-term, Congress is also beginning work on the fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget. The Presidents proposal for FDAs FY 2012 budget includes user fees for food safety regulation. This would mean that the FDA would charge food producers for registrations and inspections, although the exact details of the fee structure have not been released. User fees for food safety regulations are bad policy because:
– They are effectively a food safety tax, because the cost will be passed on to the consumers;
– User fees could disproportionately impact small- and medium-scale producers.
Moreover, there is the issue of how FDA uses its funds, whether appropriated by Congress or from user fees. While the Tester-Hagan amendment protects direct-marketing, small-scale producers from having to develop HACCP plans, they remain subject to inspection as they were even before the FSMA passed. In addition, medium-scale producers and those who do not direct-market most of their products are subject to the full scope of the bill. Both types of producers could therefore be impacted by the proposed user fees and by how FDA chooses to prioritize its inspection and enforcement actions. Thus, the FDAs budget, and how it uses it, is a significant issue for our farmers and producers.
The second step in implementing the FSMA will be the FDAs publication of proposed rules, which has not yet happened. We will keep you updated on that front.
For people in the States listed below — Alabama, California, Georgia, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Wyoming please take a minute and call the member of the Agriculture Appropriations Committee from your state.
(If you dont live in one of these States, just stay tuned for the next alert. This is just Step 1 in the process.)
Agriculture Appropriations Committee members:
Alabama: Congressman Robert Aderholt, 202-225-4876
California: Congressman Sam Farr, 202-225-2861
Connecticut: Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro: 202-225-3661
Georgia: Chairman Jack Kingston, 202-225-5831
Georgia: Congressman Tom Graves, 202-225-5211
Georgia: Congressman Sanford Bishop, 202-225-3631
Iowa: Congressman Tom Latham, 202-225-547
Mississippi: Congressman Alan Nunnelee, 202-225-4306
Missouri: Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson, 202-225-4404
Ohio: Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, 202-225-4146
Wyoming: Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis, 202-225-2311
MESSAGE: I urge Congressman ________ to oppose user fees to fund food safety programs. I also urge the Congressman to ensure that FDA is directed to focus its limited resources on inspections and enforcement of large high-risk facilities and prevent the agency from wasting tax dollars going after small- and medium-scale producers.
Again, this is just Step 1 in the process of implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act, so please keep an eye out for future alerts.