More than 60 groups asked the Obama administration on Wednesday to keep food industry registration and inspection fees out of its next annual budget request.
Instead, the food industry groups wrote that lawmakers should "request adequate funding" for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
"We believe that while FDA requires additional funds in FY 2017 in order to support food inspection activities ... the administration should seek all such funding through the Congressional budget and appropriations process," the groups wrote in a letter to White House budget director Shaun Donovan and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell.
The White House's previous budget request included an inspection fee for imported food products and additional fees for registration and inspection of food facilities.
The proposed fees would have amounted to more than $160 million, but this week's letter noted that Congress "has rightly rejected such fees each and every time they have been proposed by the administration."
"Maintaining the safety of the foods we produce and sell is the highest priority of food makers and retailers and should be considered a top national priority," the letter continued. "Federal food safety programs and inspections conducted by FDA benefit all American consumers and should be funded through appropriated funds."
The administration will officially submit its full budget request to Congress early next year.