Thursday, June 11, 2009

Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009

A member of the FWWS Board received a post from the Yahoo Small Winery group regarding the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009. In a nutshell, the proposed legislation suggests a $1000 fee to cover the fee of an annual federal inspection of any winery. We encourage you to write your federal representatives using the below template:

I represent a small commercial winery in your district – *NAME OF WINERY* in *CITY*, WA. I wish to comment on the draft bill being titled, "Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009".


Under 21 USC 350d, wineries are considered "food facilities" and are presently required to register with the FDA. We have no objection to registration, even though no human pathogens have been identified in commercial wine. Registration has been a simple process, with no fee involved.

We also have no objection to being inspected by another agency, even though we are already subject to inspection by the state LCB and the Federal TTB. However, the draft bill referenced above proposes a $1000 annual fee for the registration, ostensibly to cover the cost of annual inspections.

To Gallo or Hormel, etc., that fee is pocket change, and in fact, would not even cover the actual expenses of the inspection. But to a small winery such as ours (producing only *NUMBER GALLONS* gallons a year) it would consume a large percentage of what little profit we make on a bottle of wine. It constitutes 2 to 3 times the combined federal and state excise taxes! And just imagine the effect on the local “Mom & Pop” producers of jams and relishes who sell at local stores and Farmers Markets. Such a fee would put them out of business.

There are currently many small wineries in your district for which a $1000 fee will either inhibit growth or possibly precipitate shutdown. Certainly, the fee would be an additional barrier to entry for any start-up winery.

We agree that protection of the nation's food supply is critical, especially considering the recent problems with tainted beef, spinach, and peanut butter, but including wineries in such a program is misguided and unnecessary, and places an unfair and disproportionate burden on small wineries.

We urge you to recommend that small "food facilities" such as small wineries be exempt from the $1000 annual fee, proposed in the draft legislation.

Thank you for your consideration,


You can find your representatives at Simply fill in the template from above and submit your email to your reps.

Thanks to Dan Strickland from New River Winery in Lansing, NC for creating this template and posting.

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