NFU: government must intervene on full cost recovery

The National Farmer’s Union (NFU) has called on the government to intervene on the Food Standards Agency (FSA) plans to press ahead with full cost recovery for official controls in meat plants.

The organisation reitererated its “complete opposition” to the proposals and called for a complete review of the FSA’s delivery of meat inspections.

It also warned that additional costs of £32m would force many farmers out of business if they were given the go-ahead.

Alistair Mackintosh, NFU livestock board chairman, argued that official meat controls were a legal requirement and therefore could not be classed as a business service.

He added: “This consultation comes at a time when farmers, like other industries, are facing huge increases in costs for feed, fuel and fertiliser. The Eblex Business Pointers report shows that the majority of livestock producers are already operating at a loss and Defra’s recently published Farm Business Income forecasts that farm income for producers in less favoured areas will fall by a third this year.

“These proposals threaten the viability and sustainability of livestock production in the UK and, at a time when we are being asked by government to increase food production in this country, this cannot be ignored.

“If the FSA isn’t willing to change its views, then the government must intervene.”

>> Full cost farrago

>> Protest over full cost recovery for meat inspection