The National Beef Association (NBA) has warned that producers will resist any attempts that are made to force them to contribute to full cost recovery for meat inspections.
During a meeting with FSA chief executive Tim Smith last week, NBA director Kim Haywood said that "there is now way that beef farmers can afford to have yet more additional, post-slaughter costs dumped on them", be it by abattoir operators or the MHS itself.
"The NBA will resist all efforts by the FSA to secure a full cost recovery for MHS activity that will impose more expense on abattoir owners," she said.
"Instead of taking the lazy route, and attempting to extract additional cash from an impoverished meat industry as its first option, the FSA must make an effort to eradicate longstanding cost inefficiencies within the inspection system."
Echoing processor views that not enough has been done to reduce MHS expenses and remove unnecessary controls, Haywood described the move to increase MHS charges as "unjustified, untimely and unreasonable."
"There are inspection controls in place, some of which relate to BSE, which are in urgent need of re-assessment, modification, or removal and it is unreasonable in the extreme to expect the industry, particularly farmers, to underwrite the cost of any unnecessary operation while this inefficiency continues," she said.