Scots accuse FSA of “threats”

Scottish meat bosses have accused the Food Standard Agency (FSA) chief executive of making “veiled threats”.

The Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW) is now calling on the FSA’s Tim Smith to clarify his comment that a "lack of extra revenue" will affect the FSA’s ability to pursue meat hygiene control reforms in the EU.

SAMW has written to Smith following his comment during the FSA’s July board meeting, in which he said: “Those who saw the 4% rise as a simple win or lose decision need to think carefully about the consequences’ of such action.”

Alan Jess, president of the SAMW, said Smith’s comments sounded like a threat that the meat industry would end up paying one way or another.

“I was astonished when I watched the meeting online,” he said. “That’s not an acceptable response to the democratic working of the UK political system.

“Our view all along has been that there are many areas of potential economy available within the Agency’s work and that the loss of a 4% increase should not present a serious problem. It’s extremely strange therefore that Mr Smith should target EU hygiene control reforms as his way of economising.”

SAMW believes that EU reforms offer the potential to create a much more cost-effective approach to the Agency’s work. Effective reforms, in fact, should save everyone money, FSA and the industry.

“We certainly don’t appreciate the use of ‘veiled threats’ as part of a revenge strategy by FSA for having lost their 4% increase,” said Jess.

“Going forward, it is vital for future debate on such issues that the picture is made crystal clear concerning the exact meaning of Mr Smith’s comments.”

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