By Rebecca DiFede — When President Obama presented his budget for FY2013, he included within it a tax, $220 million annually, to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a “food facility registration fee” in order to help the agency comply with the 2011 food safety law.
The issue with this proposed fee is that because it is imposed on all pieces of the food supply chain — from producers to makers to distributors — the inflated cost would be passed down and result in a higher price for consumers, according to The Hill.
Three dozen food-industry organizations contacted members of the House Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee prior to the presentation of FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg’s testimony on the subject.
The letter addresses the fact that Congress has already reviewed and rejected instituting higher fees twice with regard to funding food safety endeavors. Similar fees fund the FDA’s prescription drug and medical device regulatory activities, however during the discussion of the FY2012 budget, the suggestion of the use of fees for food safety was shut down.
Americans for Limited Government (ALG) President Bill Wilson is concerned about this impending tax, stating that “with the producers, makers and distributors all being taxed, this triple price increase will fall most heavily upon the shoulders of the American consumers who go out to purchase the food unaware that the cost has been increased by this hidden Obama Administration tax.”
This foible is coming at a time when the FDA is under increasing fire for their mismanagement of a tobacco slush fund known as the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF). The PPHF was established in 2010 by the passage of the Affordable Care Act and is designed to funnel money for the purpose of controlling the regulation of tobacco as a drug (via the Secretary of Health and Human Services) as pursuant to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA).
Essentially, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (SHHS) can spend these federal dollars at will, without any Congressional oversight or other checks and balances.
Obama’s FDA’s food cost tax increase, tobacco slush fund and their incredible fight for the rights and welfare of organic chickens, put them in danger of becoming the subject of ridicule and derision.
When asked about his thoughts on Obama’s FDA, Bill Wilson had this to say: “This latest tax proposal by the FDA just serves as further evidence of Obama’s FDA attempting once again to expand their control over the way our nation consumes things with dire consequences to American consumers.”
In light of consumer concerns about the dramatic increases in energy costs resulting from Obama policies, congressional action supporting raising food costs through increased FDA taxes is viewed as unlikely.
Rebecca DiFede is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government.