The American Bakers Association (ABA) takes issues with federal government efforts to put additional fees on bakery facilities in the name of food safety.

In its recently released comprehensive white paper on food safety entitled, “Addressing Food Safety Issues and Concerns: The Bakers’ Perspective,” ABA focuses on key elements of effective food safety in the global environment, including the need to adequately fund Food & Drug Administration through direct appropriations, the desire to adopt a risk-based, scientific approach to inspections and the necessity to create a robust third-party certification system.

Additionally, the report recommends opposing a system that relies on per facility registration fees, a proposal brought forth in a recent congressional food safety bill, as well as opposing unnecessary country of origin labeling requirements. The ABA paper also recommends steps that can be taken for more effective and efficient traceability.

“ABA is engaged with Congress and the Obama Administration in developing logical and balanced improvements to the food safety system,” says Len Heflich, ABA Food Technical Regulator Affairs Committee (FTRAC) chairman and vice president of quality systems at Bimbo Bakeries USA. “I commend members of FTRAC for creating this thorough roadmap to better inform policy makers on what is viable in the baking industry, and how industry and government can effectively partner together to improve food safety that builds upon current industry practices.”

Robb MacKie, ABA president and CEO, adds that the report reinforces that food safety is the highest priority for baking industry.

“It is incorporated into every aspect of our members’ daily operations,” he says. “Clearly, however, there are steps that need to be taken to ensure that American families have confidence in the safe, wholesome and nutritious products we produce.”

Per facility registration fees, as currently envisioned, would dramatically, and disproportionally, impact the baking industry, notes Lee Sanders, ABA’s senior vice president of government relations and public affairs.

“Low-risk distribution depots comprise approximately 90% of bakery facilities,” she explains. “FDA should appropriately focus its limited inspection resources on high-risk foods and facilities.”

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