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FOOD INDUSTRY OPPOSES FDA USER FEES

 WASHINGTON, July 21 /PRNewswire/ --The food industry today strongly opposed imposition of user fees to fund the Food and Drug Administration, saying that charging fees to an industry it regulates would undermine confidence in FDA's integrity and could inhibit private sector job growth.
 "Both the reality and perception of FDA's integrity are important in maintaining public confidence in the agency," said John R. Cady, president and CEO of the National Food Processors Association, in a letter to members of the U.S. Senate addressing language in a Senate appropriations bill for fiscal year 1994. "Yet concerns have been raised by leaders from all points on the political spectrum regarding the effect of user fees on public confidence in the independence of FDA."
 Cady cited language stating one reason Congress in 1948 repealed a user fee on meat and poultry it had enacted only the year before: "The cost of such inspection should be paid out of the general funds of the federal government -- not only because such inspection is a proper charge against the people as a whole, but because it is the only way in which consumers can be assured of effective, uncompromising inspection in which they can repose the fullest confidence."
 "Imposition of fees on industries because they are regulated by FDA would establish an extremely regressive regulatory tax," Cady pointed out. "Since regulated industries would pass the tax cost on to buyers of their products, low-income Americans who spend the highest proportion of their income on food would be hurt most. And small businesses, which create most new jobs in the private sector, would be least able to pass the costs on to their customers, resulting in restricted growth and fewer jobs."
 Cady noted that the user fee idea has been rejected by Congress on numerous occasions. He pointed out that the current fiscal year appropriations law states that "none of these funds shall be used to develop, establish, or operate any program of user fees."
 Cady said establishment of user fees for FDA-regulated industries would require extensive rulemaking to assure equity for companies and industries subject to the tax. Then, FDA would have to establish the mechanism for collecting the fees. Calling the Senate bill language a "budget gimmick," Cady said, "If FDA were to propose a rule for establishment of user fees today,
collection of fees in FY 1994 would be doubtful." He added that since FDA is prohibited from engaging in activities related to user fees, the agency could not legally initiate the rulemaking process.
 Cady urged the Senate to provide full funding for FDA through appropriations and reject the proposal to fund the agency through regulatory user fees.
 -0- 7/21/93
 /CONTACT: Roger Coleman of the National Food Processors Association, 202-639-5935/


CO: National Food Processors Association; Food and Drug Administration ST: District of Columbia IN: SU: LEG

IH-DC -- DC043 -- 4130 07/21/93 16:25 EDT
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Date:Jul 21, 1993
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