US: 2013 budget proposal harms poultry processors

17-02-2012 | | |

In the US, the Obama administration released its budget proposal for fiscal year 2013, which once again proposes user fees for government mandated inspection programs for poultry processors.

The administration is proposing $266 million in user fees in its fiscal year 2013 federal budget, a more than 91% jump over the estimated 2012 amount of $139 million.

User fees specific to US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) are estimated to total $162 million for 2013 through existing user fees and trust fund activities for providing overtime, holiday and voluntary inspection services.

Since poultry inspection is a mandatory federal program which benefits public health, the National Chicken Council (NCC) has long contended that it should be funded by the federal government, not through user fees.

“These food safety taxes, which have been justly rejected by Congress time and time again, will be charged directly to the meat and poultry sector who will be forced to pass this additional cost onto tax-paying consumers,” said Tom Super, NCC vice president of communications. “NCC urges Congress to once again reject these fees that will put further strains on consumers’ food budgets and will create an additional burden on chicken companies at a time when the industry is attempting to recover from one of the worst financial years in history.”

Under the administration’s budget proposal for USDA, FSIS discretionary funding would receive a net decrease of more than $8 million, with a funding level of $996 million. The administration noted this budget would provide the full amount necessary to meet regulatory responsibilities, which reflects implementation of a modernised poultry inspection system in 2013.

Total budget authority for the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) is requested at $90 million, of which $50 million is from existing grain inspection and weighing user fees. 

About $22 million of the discretionary appropriation request is for the Packers and Stockyards Program.  Separately, GIPSA is once again requesting legislative authority to collect a licensing fee on entities regulated under the Packers and Stockyards Act.  The 2013 Budget requests an increase of about $1.2 million to facilitate compliance with the Packers and Stockyards Act.

A full copy of the USDA Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Summary and Annual Performance Plan can be accessed here.

Source: National Chicken Council (NCC)