The scrapping of these charges will form part of a package of long-term structural measures and short-term financial aid for British farming. The package was unveiled at a summit meeting at 10 Downing Street, chaired by the Prime Minister, on 30th March.
Sir John Krebs, Chairman of the Food Standards Agency, said today: "These changes to the inspection regime do not mean that there will be less protection for the consumer. All that will change is that farmers will no longer have to pay for them. There is a degree of urgency behind these proposals. The Government has made it plain that it wishes farmers to benefit from these savings as soon as possible. For this reason, we are having a relatively short consultation period. The closing date for responses will be 2 May this year."
There are about 18,000 dairy farmers in England and 10,000 inspections are carried out each year. The draft Regulations on which consultation has today been announced are accompanied by a draft Regulatory Impact Assessment. Both are available from the Food Standards Agency website (www.foodstandards.gov.uk).
Charges for microbiological testing of raw cows' drinking milk are not affected by these changes.