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NFU Offers A Guarded Welcome To Meat Hygiene Regulations

by 5m Editor
24 July 2007, at 6:33am

UK - The NFU has welcomed the Food Standards Agency board's decision to align meat hygiene regulations more closely with the regulation of the rest of the food chain but has expressed concern about the implementation of both full cost recovery and cost sharing.

The FSA board has decided to adopt a more risk and evidence-based approach to regulation, inspection and enforcement under a dramatically transformed Meat Hygiene Service, provided it meets a series of financial and performance targets.

NFU Vice President Paul Temple said: "It is good to see that the reformed MHS will be set some challenging financial and performance targets by the FSA. It is vital for producers that the costs of inspection and controls are reduced, given that these are always passed back down to the primary producer and that any further reduction in the current farm gate price will not lead to security of supply within the meat sector.

"Local authorities can play a key role in providing solutions at small local plants to help ease the cost burden on these vital plants. Steps are also needed to remove barriers to enable the increased use of Plant Inspection Assistants in the poultry sector to further reduce cost burdens to the plant owners."

Collaboration between the NFU, the FSA and MHS will be needed to achieve EU regulatory change, although there will be obvious time constraints. The NFU sees changes in the European regulations as a priority as this could reduce costs to food business operators by 70 per cent.

“There are obvious concerns about the implementation of both full cost recovery and cost sharing and we are asking that there is continued dialogue with producers throughout the implementation of the changes,” Mr Temple said.

5m Editor