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In separate letters to Congress, the American Bakers Association and the Snack Food Association expressed concern regarding a proposed $1,000 per facility user fee to help pay for improved food safety under “The Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009.”
The ABA, for instance, noted that the facility registration fees would create a “costly burden on the domestic food industry for large and, particularly, small businesses.
“While bakers operate manufacturing facilities, they also operate thousands of depots/distribution centers, or locations where finished and packaged food products are stored, across the nation,” the ABA noted. “These facilities merely serve as a transfer point for baked goods – a very low-risk atmosphere for potential food contamination.”
Specifically, the association added, only about 10% of baker-registered facilities produce products while some 90% merely store finished food products for 24 hours or less.
In a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee and its Health Subcommittee, SFA President James A. McCarthy reiterated that the snack food industry has invested millions of dollars in food safety systems, and pledged to work with Congress "to ensure that effective food safety legislation is enacted that encompasses the principle that Federal resources should be committed to those portions of the food supply that pose the most significant food safety risk."
Although the ABA applauds Congress’ focus on food safety, ABA also expressed concerns about requirements for the country of origin labeling (COOL) within the draft legislation.
“ABA firmly believes that COOL would prove to be unworkable, too complex to implement on processed foods, very expensive and resource intensive for bakers while doing nothing to improve public health,” the association stated.
For more information, go to www.americanbakers.org or www.sfa.org.