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UFU Opposes Proposals for Meat Hygiene Charges

by 5m Editor
8 February 2011, at 9:25am

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - The Ulster Farmers’ Union has expressed its total opposition to the Food Standard’s Agency (FSA) proposals to introduce a full cost recovery system for meat hygiene inspections.

UFU President John Thompson said, “Meat Hygiene Charges already pose a significant cost to the farming industry. In a majority of cases, passing back the full rate of FSA charges will see this cost almost double and add yet further financial strain to an industry that is already operating at very low margins.

“Given that the consultation title suggested that the FSA intended to propose a new approach that would deliver ‘efficiency and reform’, we were very disappointed that they had not listened to stakeholders and included an alternative option where the meat hygiene inspection service is delivered by an agency outside the government. The UFU believe that the meat hygiene inspections could be delivered by a private sector body for a lower cost, with a much greater level of efficiency, while still meeting the high standard required under EU legislation.“

The UFU has submitted an official response to the FSA consultation detailing our position. The UFU and NIMEA have also held a joint meeting with Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew to directly oppose the full cost recovery proposals.

Mr Thompson added, “We have clearly expressed our strong opposition to the introduction of full cost recovery Meat Hygiene Charges to FSA and the Agriculture Minister. The UFU understands the importance of food safety and we know our members are committed to producing a product that meets the high standard that consumers expect and deserve. However, we feel strongly that is not the meat industry’s responsibility to cover the cost of Government in-efficiencies and we are urging the FSA to explore all the options that will deliver the maximum efficiencies and reforms that are needed.“

Further Reading

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