Sheep Industry Joins Group Opposing FSIS User Fees
March 22, 2019

The American Sheep Industry Association joined other meat-industry organizations this week in signing a letter requesting Congress fully fund the U.S. Department of Agriculture's food safety activities.

President Donald J. Trump's proposed budget includes establishing USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service user fees in Fiscal Year 2021. Such fees would cost the industry $660 million each year.

"The mission of FSIS is to ensure that the nation's commercial supply of meat, poultry and egg products is safe, wholesome and properly labeled and packaged," read the letter sent to the U.S. House and Senate appropriations and agriculture committees. "The governmental food safety activities that would be financed by the industry user fees are both mandated by statute and central to the FSIS mission. The proposal would remove any incentives for FSIS to manage program costs, develop efficiencies or improve results. Instead, industry-funded inspection would encourage the agency to expand its workforce and scope of regulatory activities.

"We urge Congress to continue to reject proposals to assess new user fees to fund, either in whole or in part, federally mandated meat, poultry or egg product inspection. The Food Safety and Inspection Service's inspection activities are an inherently governmental function that should be funded through appropriated funds."