As the "Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009" was passed out of the House subcommittee last week, the fees associated with production facility inspection were decreased. According to a story in the Packer:
The bill approved June 10 was revised from an earlier draft version, dropping user fees for inspections from $1,000 to $500 per facility and the overall cap limit per company to $175,000.
Food safety advocates were disappointed with the change:
Erik Olson, director of food and consumer product safety at The Pew Charitable Trusts at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., said Pew would have liked to see the $1,000 fee per facility remain in place.
"It’s not an inconsequential change in terms of the money that could be raised," he said, adding that Pew also prefers more frequent inspection for high-risk facilities than is outlined in the legislation.
It strikes me that $500 seems like quite a small amount of money to pay for an inspection of your facility. How much would industry pay for such an inspection on the open market? Could you really get one or more inspectors to review your process and records, and provide you a report for $500?
Remarkably enough, Tom Stenzel, president of the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association, told the Packer that the industry would like to move the fees from the Bill entirely before passage.