The Inevitability of User Fees for Food Safety

J0385339 For a long time now, I've been convinced that there would emerge something on the order of a FPUFA (Food Producer User Fee Act) not only because it is fun to say, but because for a long time, there has been a growing demand for increased vigilance on the food safety front with no resources available to make that happen.

When faced with a need to ratchet up the ability of FDA to respond to other needs, policymakers have in recent years turned to user fees – charging the industry the FDA is regulating a fee to do so that thereby allows the agency to do a better, faster job.  Over the past few years, there have been a myriad of food safety issues compounded not only by the agency's lack of resources, but by the exploding growth of food production variety and supply chains through globalization. 

So today the big news is that Dr. Hamburg has gone on the record to say that the creation of a user fee system for food would not be a bad idea.  Industry, according to the Wall Street Journal, responds saying that such user fees could create a "conflict of interest" – an argument that simply won't play in Peoria folks.  While some are shocked that the FDA gets so much of its enforcement budget from industry, in other countries it is actually higher. 

Dr. Hamburg indicated a good start would be $1000 charges to about 378,000 facilities.  That's a lotta cabbage!  User fees are here, here to stay, and going to grow. 

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