Bakers attending the American Bakers Association Convention this week in Aventura, Fla., will have plenty of issues to explore, including “Grain Brain,” the latest in the seemingly never-ending number of carb-bashing books that is expected to hit the shelves in September. Topping the list, however, should be the president’s new budget plan for Food and Drug Administration-imposed user fees to help pay for more than 90% of the $821 million boost for F.D.A.’s $4.7 billion budget.
Once again, the federal government seeks to transfer fiscal responsibility for regulatory enforcement by dumping on the food industry and forcing it to ante up and subsidize the agency by piling on unnecessary and burdensome fees from any registered F.D.A. facility, including non-production locations such as depots.
Fortunately, the industry has repeatedly defeated this pocketbook issue with support from both sides of the aisle when it’s reared its ugly head over the years, but with new members on key congressional committees, the fate of this year’s proposal is anything but certain.
The theme to A.B.A.’s convention is “staying ahead of the curve when you don’t know what’s around the bend.” Unfortunately, we’ve seen this movie too many times already. Let’s hope the latest sequel on F.D.A. user fees has another happy ending and not a huge train wreck.