NFU rallies farmers against full cost recovery plans

The NFU has called on its members to attend Food Standard Agency (FSA) meetings on full cost recovery for meat controls and voice their concerns about the controversial initiative.

The FSA has announced a series of forums to discuss its charging plans - ahead of its next board meeting.

However, most in the sector have criticised the charging plans and labelled the FSA as a ‘high-cost monopoly service provider’.

Now, the NFU has issued a rallying call to its members and said that it would be the farmer that ‘undoubtedly face the brunt of the charges’.

Livestock board chairman Alistair Mackintosh said:  “The present system of meat controls is out-dated, disproportionate and carried out by a high-cost, monopoly public service provider, the FSA. The NFU believes that a full review of meat controls is needed to ensure an efficient and proportionate inspection regime is put in place.

“If the FSA is unable to do more to reduce its costs and deal with current overheads then an alternative model should be seriously considered. This could involve the delivery of inspections carried out by an external private sector provider(s) with the FSA left to carry out an audit function. We have stated our belief that this should have been put forward as part of this consultation process.”

He added: “The best way forward would be to shelve the current proposals for full cost recovery while a comprehensive review of existing controls is carried out. The FSA in partnership with industry could then look at the review and highlight areas where efficiencies could be made and where alternative delivery methods could be found. Once we are satisfied that all options and potential efficiencies have been explored and implemented then we can re-examine the FSA’s current need for full cost recovery.

“It is vital that producers attend these public meetings. The FSA board must be made aware of the realities of its proposals and hear first-hand the concerns of industry.”

>> FSA plans meat inspection charging meetings


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