FSA Must Address Its Own Abattoir Inspection Costs

UK - The National Beef Association (NBA) has said the Food Standard’s Agency (FSA) sudden decision to demand another £31.8 million a year from the industry to cover its abattoir inspection operation is not only irrational but confirms its self-serving approach to meat industry issues.
calendar icon 15 November 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

It had hoped the FSA would make an effort to reduce its £69 million annual inspection expenditure by an achievable £22 million, or 35 per cent, before calling for additional income from meat processors and farmers already struggling to cover their own costs.

But rather than eliminate glaring operational inefficiencies it has decided instead to dump more cost on the meat industry, basically wriggling out of their obligations to share the cost burdens of protecting public health.

“The FSA has presented the red meat sector with a fait-accompli, which has cost ramifications for all livestock farmers who can expect to have to stump up about £20 million of the Agency’s £32 million a year demand if it is approved,” explained NBA director, Kim Haywood.

“The even distribution of the national prime stock slaughter service at both regional and local level is also threatened. But instead of taking upon itself the task of shedding inefficiencies and pruning costs, like all government departments and commercial businesses are doing in these difficult times, all the FSA has offered, is for industry to take the pain on gradually, through a series of stepped, annual, charge increases.”

“Like other meat and livestock orientated organisations the NBA finds this insulting. The FSA’s overbearing attitude invokes nothing but despair. If it cannot work at reducing its own costs before coming to industry with a bill to bridge its mile wide cost/income gap, it must have no shame in being seen as the ultimate fat cat concerned only with its own preservation.”

“In these circumstances the Association will have no hesitation in responding to the FSA’s demands by pressing government for an alternative, much cheaper and more cost effective, method of overseeing hygiene and welfare regulations than the Agency is obviously capable of offering.”

“The dominant method in other EU countries is for processors themselves to employ technical specialist to maintain standards and these in turn are answerable to a single, independent, Official Veterinary Surgeon, paid by a government agency like the FSA and who is always on site.”

“If this simpler, cheaper, system can work elsewhere it can work across the UK as well. The NBA is not impressed with this latest evidence of its in-built, high handed, even bullying, approach to the meat inspection charge issue,” Ms Haywood added.

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