The task force considers that such businesses play an important role in the economic well-being of the meat and livestock industry, and of the wider rural/local economy. It recommends that instead of being charged at an hourly rate, all abattoirs and cutting plants should be charged the standard (headage) fees laid down in the EU Charges Directive or their actual inspection costs if these are lower.
The Meat Inspection Charges Task Force has now formally submitted its report and recommendations to Agency Chairman Sir John Krebs. The report itself is published by the Agency today. Click here to view the report and recommendations
"I am very grateful for the Task Force's thorough and comprehensive investigation of this particularly complex issue, and for the considerable time and energy which its members have willingly devoted to it," said Sir John.
"The Agency will be contributing to the Government's consideration of the report and its recommendations."
The Task Force was established by the Agency in April to look at the issue of meat inspection charges (Press Release 2000/0003 of 11 April
The Task Force considers that in view of what it sees as the serious threat to small and medium-sized abattoirs and cutting plants, the Government should contribute to the costs of meat inspection in Great Britain. The Task Force believes that the Government should therefore change its policy of requiring the Meat Hygiene Service to recover as much as possible of its hygiene inspection costs from the meat industry (since this is not required by EU rules on charging). It recommends that the current method of charging for meat inspections on an hourly basis should be changed and that, instead, all abattoirs and cutting plants should be charged the standard (headage) fees laid down in the EU Charges Directive (85/73/EEC, as amended) or their actual inspection costs where these are lower. The Task Force estimates that the cost to Government of adopting this recommendation could be up to £19m a year once veterinary supervision levels are brought into line with EU requirements.