Will the FSA's proposal lead to a winter of discontent?
Another issue of MTJ, another eventful couple of weeks. We have all been left reeling by the latest development in the ongoing meat hygiene charging saga, with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) agreeing to remove subsidies altogether.
This would leave the industry footing the entire bill for meat hygiene controls, something which would spell disaster for many processors.
Perhaps such a move should have been expected, given FSA chief executive Tim Smith's comments after the 4% rise in charges was dismissed by ministers, but I don't think anyone expected to be faced with full cost recovery so soon. The FSA is justifying the proposal by pointing out that the removal of subsidies might only lead to modest price increases for consumers, but we all know the real cost will be borne by the industry. And with questions hanging over the efficiency of the MHS, we are certainly on the brink of a winter of discontent.
Meanwhile, Eblex has said it will shortly be publishing its long-awaited environmental roadmap, which promises to look at ways to improve livestock efficiency and reduce methane. Whether or not the roadmap will prove to be the ammunition the industry needs to defend itself from environmental attacks remains to be seen. But Eblex director Nick Allen seems confident it will provide some of the answers needed to tackle the issue of climate change.
And WRAP's announcement that it will be measuring the amount of meat and associated packaging ending up as waste is also good news. The data will provide an invaluable insight into the waste produced across the supply chain and will help the industry improve its resource efficiency and environmental performance.
01 - 03 November, 2016
China Foodtech 2017
07 November, 2016
Butcher’s Shop of the Year
01 December, 2016, 8:30 - 13:30
Policy priorities for the UK food, drink and farming industry