Byline: By Jennifer Mackenzie
Butcher Fred Holliday believes ever-increasing red tape could sound the death knell for businesses like his.
Mr Holliday and wife Lyn run their butchery and slaughterhouse business in Greenside, Ryton, near Gateshead, with assistant Les Jackson.
They supply a large customer base with locally-reared meat and, more recently, they have branched into a specialist market with the National Trust.
The business also carries out a lot of private slaughtering for farmer customers.
But new Food Standards Agency regulations - which involve taking swabs in the slaughterhouse - have angered Mr Holliday, who has been a butcher since he was 14.
He opened his shop in Greenside eight years ago.
He said: "They are forcing us out of business - no one can take this expense. And it's no good saying `pass it on to the customer'. There's a limit on how much we can put up our prices.
"The butcher-slaughterer is a dying trade and they are doing their best to get rid of it."
The new regulations mean Mrs Holliday has had to take swabs of 10 surfaces in the slaughterhouse for an annual check.
This was followed by taking four swabs each on five lamb carcases, eventually running up a bill of hundreds of pounds. …