A coalition of nearly 70 food groups are urging members of Congress to develop a 2017 appropriations bill that funds FDA food safety programs without any increase in taxes or fees to manufacturers.

The groups penned a letter which they sent to members of the House and Senate appropriations committees.

“We believe if FDA requires additional funds in FY 2017 to support food inspection activities and implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the administration should seek all such funding through the Congressional budget and appropriations process, rather than asking for authorization of new regulatory taxes that Congress has repeatedly rejected,” the coalition says.

The proposed budget currently includes a proposal to impose a food facility registration and inspection fee to fund agency activities related to FSMA, as well as a food import fee. FDA has recommended similar fees to offset operations costs in previous years, though these proposals have been rejected by Congress.

“Maintaining the safety of the foods we produce and sell is the highest priority of the food makers and retailers we represent and should be considered a top national priority,” the groups say. “Federal food safety programs and inspections conducted by FDA benefit all American consumers and should be funded through appropriated funds. As consumers continue to cope with a period of prolonged economic recovery and food makers and retailers struggle with fluctuating commodity prices, the creation of new food taxes or regulatory fees would mean higher costs for food makers and lead to higher retail food prices for consumers.”