The FSA had asked its board to endorse its actions to encourage CCTV installation in abattoirs, following undercover filming by vegetarian activists Animal Aid. In previous discussions with MTJ, FSA boss Tim Smith even said he would speak to retailers to put pressure on processors to install CCTV.
In a report to the board, FSA director of operations Andrew Rhodes said: "Food business operators (FBOs) are responsible for the activities undertaken by their staff through effective training and supervision and, if this were demonstrated at all times, CCTV would not be necessary as a deterrent. But there is clear evidence that some FBOs are not meeting their responsibilities, so CCTV is a useful additional tool in securing compliance and provides assurance for their management.
"If welfare breaches continue at sites where CCTV is not installed, then the FSA would consider placing additional staff at the abattoir, and charging for the new personnel."
But the FSA's actions have angered British Meat Processors' Association director Stephen Rossides, who said: "I am unhappy with the suggestion that retailers might, or should, put pressure on their suppliers to install CCTV. For already welfare-compliant operators, this would be tantamount to back-door quasi-compulsory regulation and, for compliant FBOs who do not choose to use CCTV, it would be disproportionate. It is not the FSA's role to lobby retailers to put these pressures on their suppliers."