The Ulster Farmers’ Union has welcomed the Reducing Regulation Committee’s decision to reject the Food Standards Agency (FSA) plans to move to a full cost recovery system for meat hygiene inspections.
UFU president Harry Sinclair said: “The UFU has always strongly opposed the FSA proposals to introduce a full cost recovery system for meat hygiene inspections and we are pleased that these plans have been halted, at least for the time being.
“Meat hygiene inspection fees already pose a significant cost to the farming sector.
It is therefore not feasible to impose the full burden of these charges, as this can only result in increasing the financial strain of an industry that is already operating at very low margins.
“The UFU understands and fully supports the importance of food safety and we know our members are committed to producing a product that meets the high standard that consumers expect and deserve.
However we have always vehemently stressed that it is not the meat industry’s responsibility to cover the cost of government in-efficiencies.”
The issue of full cost recovery for meat inspections is expected to be discussed again by the FSA board at a further meeting this month.
The UFU will continue to totally oppose the introduction of full cost recovery of meat hygiene charges by the FSA.
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