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Farmers Face £21m Meat Hygiene Charges

by 5m Editor
16 November 2010, at 10:52a.m.

UK - More than £21 million in charges for meat hygiene services could be passed onto livestock producers after the Food Standards Agency launched a consultation to reduce its costs.

The meat controls are a legal requirement and ensure that meat hygiene and animal welfare at slaughter are carried out by official veterinarians and meat hygiene inspectors in slaughterhouses. However the NFU is very concerned about new moves to place all meat hygiene costs on the livestock industry.

NFU livestock board chairman Alistair Mackintosh said: “This news is very concerning for the livestock industry especially farmers who will undoubtedly face the brunt of the charges. The FSA has admitted that the majority of the costs will be placed back on the producer.

“We have always been opposed to transferring costs from regulatory bodies onto industry, as farmers are already paying more than their fair share. We have gone through a number of years of turmoil in both the sheep and beef sectors with current beef prices well below the cost of production. Added costs to farmers will have serious implications on the viability of many businesses. The government and the FSA shouldn’t be looking at short term savings; there is a need to look at the bigger picture and long-term food supply.”

NFU poultry board chairman Charles Bourns added: “Poultry producers are under enormous pressure at the moment following huge increases in the price of feed ingredients. Poultry farmers will have to absorb a portion of the £21million in costs, reportedly coming the industry’s way, which is an unnecessary burden.

“Meat hygiene controls remain a legal requirement and provide a wider service to society. It cannot simply be said that these controls are a business service for which a charge to industry can be applied.”