Farmers angry over BSE test charge plans

Producers have reacted angrily to plans by some meat processors to pass charges for BSE testing back down the supply chain.

The National Farmers' Union (NFU) called on processors to change the decision to pass the cost of BSE testing of cattle over 48 months to farmers. Farming leaders said they were disappointed by the move, having already opposed the government's plans to pass the cost down to industry.

A number of livestock markets are reported to be defying processors and refusing to impose a £7.50 deduction on payments to farmers, a move supported by the NFU.

Stuart Roberts, director of the British Meat Processors Association, said: "This is purely a commercial issue between individual processors and their supply chains, which may or may not include auction houses. One would hope they can come to a sensible solution as soon as possible.

"The key to it is that we should never have been put in a position where the supply chain picks up the cost of something that is for the public good - public good should be paid for by the public."

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