COULD THERE BE ANOTHER WAY?
Reading [the last issue of] MTJ and the article "things have to change" may I suggest another way.
I join Mr Furlong in his opinion, that the meat hygiene business and all that's entailed should be returned to LA. They have the experience, knowledge, facilities and all that is needed to do this practical job of work of meat inspection.
The MHS must not be closed down, instead should be dismantled and given a new roll overseeing the work of meat hygiene/inspection (as suggested) under taking by the LA's.
Strictly only administration and auditing connected with the Food Safety Agency would be their work. The new MHS would be a section of the FSA (keeping cost down).
Leaving meat inspection/hygiene responsibilities etc, enforcement and employment to the LA will reduce costs dramatically to the industry. As long as LA's are left alone to be efficient, without compromising public health we would all benefit.
Meat hygiene/inspection would be charged locally by the relevant LA. Options to employ vets contractually and the use of contracted meat inspection staff still would be an option but not to overran.
"Efficiency breeds happiness, happiness breeds efficiency" so it has been said. Government could save millions by closing the regional offices, stopping the over complicated system of paper work and working computers that only a minority are proficient at. Over-staffing is leaving all people and customers unhappy in our financially over-stretched meat industry.
The new MHS would have only one HQ, the minimum of staff, collecting data as required nationally. They would audit the meat hygiene work undertaking by LA's. The new MHS would be paid for by Defra.
As it provides a service to the local plants, the LA's work would be funded in part by being added to the council rate, because the local population would be benefiting from a local industry.
It would work and it would work well, better than the old days, because we have all learnt a lot in 10 years.
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