FSA to review full cost recovery, BMPA conference told

Andrew Rhodes, FSA director of operations, has said that the FSA will review the issue of full cost recovery of meat inspection at the June board meeting, after members of the Reducing Regulation Committee (RRC) expressed reservations about the FSA’s plans.

Speaking at the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) conference (24 May), Rhodes said that the FSA board would give detailed considerations to the problem, after the Minister for Public Health had informed the FSA that members of the RCC were “not content” for the FSA to proceed to implementation of full cost recovery proposals.

However, he said: “Even if the political appetite is not there, the system must change as it is not sustainable.

He said that the discount system and EU minima was complex and not always fair, and that it provided no incentive to be efficient. “It’s hard for us to implement and hard for industry to understand.”

“We need to talk to [industry] about how to change this.”

He said that the FSA had made savings of £5m, but that additional saving of £10m could only be achieved by industry actions, but that these would require the incentive of full cost recovery.

Agriculture Minister Jim Paice also confirmed that the government were committed to recovering the cost of meat inspection.

He said: “It is impossible to argue against at a time when the economy is in the situation it is in. But we’ve always said that full cost recovery is not an open ended opportunity to charge whatever you feel and that is why the government has made it completely clear to the FSA throughout this process that we expected the costs to be kept to a sensible minimum.

“We cannot make the major changes they propose without being absolutely confident that those arrangements will be cost effective and totally transparent - and it was those concerns that ultimately promoted the cabinet committee to reject the FSA proposals.”

“I hope they will take more time to try to find the right approach.”

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