Food industry rejects proposed food tax in Obama budget

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"The creation of a new food tax would mean higher costs for food makers and higher food prices for our consumers," the letter says.

The groups point out that Congress has already twice rejected using user fees, which fund the FDA's prescription drug and medical device regulatory activities, to fund food safety efforts: first when the food safety law was being considered and again when it took up the president's 2012 budget. Instead, the groups wrote, the government should set aside taxpayer funds to pay for those efforts.

"We urge you to continue to adequately fund the food safety activities of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration," the letter says, "rather than support the imposition of any new food regulatory taxes on consumers and food makers."