Should industry be required to fund government inspections of their products and factories? That's the question raised by the Grocery Manufacturing Association today in response to food safety legislation drafted by House Democrats. The GMA -- not be confused with GMA -- objects to the specific regulation not at all but to the amount of money the government plans to spend on inspections. Too much! An increase of 78% over four years, from $439 million in 2006 to $789 million in 2010. The cost of complying with an enhanced inspection regime would result in "significant new fees" on the food manufacturers and yes, "ultimately consumers" at a time when -- you guessed it -- "they could least afford it."
In addition, like many consumer groups, we are concerned about the inherent conflict of interest created by asking industry to fund government inspections. We are also concerned about provisions that increase the cost of food without improving the safety of the food supply.