Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)
LIVESTOCK groups have joined forces to oppose any plans to pass on the majority of the pounds 32m in costs for official controls in abattoirs and meat plants to the farming industry.
They are demanding a full review of the Food Standard Agency's (FSA) plans for meat inspections to ensure all possible cost savings have been taken into account before the bill is passed on to the industry.
The group, which includes the NFU and the National Beef Association (NBA), has written jointly to Defra Secretary Caroline Spelman with its concerns.
NFU livestock board chairman Alistair Mackintosh said: "We fully recognise the pressures on public expenditure in these difficult economic times and we also recognise that food business operators are principally responsible for ensuring the production and marketing of safe food.
"However, there are high regulatory costs for delivering a public good - in this case food safety - and we strongly believe it is unfair for industry to pick up all these costs."
Official controls in the meat sector are currently carried out by the FSA and the costs include covering the organisation's staffing, pensions provisions and liabilities, according to Mackintosh. …