Food Law News - UK - 2001

FSA Letter, 2 April 2001

MEAT HYGIENE - Revised Meat Hygiene Inspection Charging System

The letter:

Responses to the Consultation Exercise

The Food Standards Agency issued proposals in January 2001 (see 15 January 2001)to implement the recommendations of the Meat Inspection Charges Task Force. The Agency proposed that, from 2 April 2001, all slaughterhouses and cutting plants should be charged on the basis of the standard (headage/throughput) charges as laid down in EU Directive 96/43/EEC. However, where the actual inspection costs are lower than the total of the standard charges, it was proposed that the actual costs should be charged. The Agency also proposed that measures should be introduced to allow the Meat Hygiene Service to protect itself from inefficiencies or abuses resulting from the implementation of a headage based system. Additional charges were proposed, to be payable alongside standard charges to discourage inefficient operations by plant operators or attempts to abuse the system.

Separate consultation exercises were held in England, Scotland and Wales based upon identical proposals. The consultation exercises elicited a total of 49 responses. There was full support for the adoption of a revised system whereby plants pay the lower of their actual inspection costs or a charge based on the headage rates. However, although many respondents recognised the need to prevent inefficiencies, there was strong opposition to the proposed method for additional charges to be introduced alongside standard charges. There was also strong support for the adoption of agreed operational programmes, as recommended by the Task Force, and the introduction of an appeals mechanism if plants could not agree a programme with the MHS, or if they opposed the imposition of additional charges in particular circumstances.

The FSA's Response to the Comments Additional Charges:

Independent Appeals Mechanism

Cold Stores

Casualty Slaughter

Standard (Headage / Throughput) Rates

The Meat Inspection Charging System to Apply from 2 April 2001

The key features of the new meat inspection charging system to apply from 2 April 2001 are:

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