Butchery federation ready to meet future challenges

John Mettrick, president of the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders (NFMFT), discussed successes and future challenges in a speech at the organisation’s AGM on 22 June.

The butchery federation held the 2014 AGM at the Windmill Village Hotel in Coventry, and Mettrick, installed as president for a further year, covered a number of topics of significance to members. He said the the federation was in a good financial state: “We are now spending proportionately more money on member services, promotion and communications than before, and less, much less, on administration than we have done in the past, while continuing to offer improved services for our members.”

Mettrick said he planned to fight over the deletion of an EU exemption which saves small businesses from paying disproportionate inspection charges. He said: “The recent decision in the European Parliament to remove a derogation excluding businesses with less than €2m turnover and fewer than 10 staff from any inspection charges, leaving the decision whether to charge or not to the governments of member states, is a decision which will affect everyone.

“Any butcher, farm shop or other business subject to official and Local Authority inspection can, in future, be liable for the cost of inspections without exemption, unless we persuade the government otherwise. We are told that small businesses are the engine of recovery. So why impose a new charge on small food businesses whose implementation could be a factor in causing that engine to stall?”

Mettrick announced that the federation is about to embark on a conversion of its Tunbridge Wells headquarters, to add value to the asset. The president also discussed plans to work more closely with Defra to tackle issues such as origin labelling. He added that there were improvements in sight in relation to the review of the Cross Contamination Guidelines, which the organisation works on with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the Federation of Small Businesses.

A Life Honorary Vice Presidency was also presented at the AGM, to former heavy anti-aircraft gunner and federation member of 60 years Ken Wakelin. Wakelin joined the federation’s executive council in 1990, and became president in 1997. Mettrick said: “Without members like Ken, this federation wouldn’t be around today and people like him have kept it going.”

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