Editor's Comment

The government may have stripped the Food Standards Agency (FSA) of a fair proportion of its power, but that won't stop it causing a stir in the meat industry.

For example, when it comes to PR, the FSA seems to be doing a great job one minute, then, in the next instant, shoots itself in the foot spectacularly. Having spent the last year or more convincing the meat industry that it is listening and willing to work on a collaborative basis to overcome some of the issues it faces, the FSA then sends out with no warning at all a heavy-handed letter imposing draconian payment terms and threatening instant legal action on anyone transgressing those terms. Good work!

We all understand the need for the agency to cut costs and become more efficient, but perhaps picking up the phone and having a chat with some key people in the industry before firing off the letters might have been a more sensible approach.

Of course, the changes announced by the government mean the FSA will now have more time on its hands to focus on the meat industry and we wait with bated breath to see what that increased focus will yield.

FSA boss Tim Smith is certainly keen to maintain the pressure to push for the use of CCTV in the abattoir sector and even goes as far as suggesting it might provide one step towards deregulation. Whether that is the case or not, the debate it sparks should prove to be lively.

Meanwhile, on the subject of campaigns, the UK pig industry is also gearing up for another battle. Irked by what it considers are worrying signs of a preference for cheaper imports, the National Pig Association is preparing to hit the campaign trail once again. Considering the results of the last campaign, 'Pigs Are Worth It!', how the retailers and processors react this time around will be interesting to watch.

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