Last updated on 10 November 2010
A new approach to charges for official controls on meat in Scotland: delivering efficiency and reform
This consultation seeks your views on our proposals for the charging for meat hygiene and animal welfare at slaughter official controls in meat plants.
All comments and views should be sent to
Dr Will Munro
Food Safety Monitoring & Policy Branch
Food Standards Agency in Scotland
6th Floor, St Magnus House
25 Guild St
Tel: 01224 285161
Fax: 01224 285168
Responses are requested by: 1 February 2011
Who will this consultation be of most interest to?
The operators of approved slaughterhouses, cutting plants and game handling establishments, the industry organisations that represent their interests, their suppliers and customers, livestock producers and consumers, who are our first priority.
What is the subject of this consultation?
Proposed changes to the charging arrangements and charging levels for meat hygiene and welfare at slaughter official controls carried out in Great Britain by the Food Standards Agency, and in Northern Ireland by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Veterinary Public Health Unit on behalf of the Food Standards Agency, to apply from January 2012
What is the purpose of this consultation?
To obtain comments and views on the proposals for the method of moving to full cost recovery of meat hygiene and welfare at slaughter official controls, and for the provision of a maximum 70% reduction of the full cost charge, subject to the EU minima for those establishments that process fewer than a specified number of animals or less than a specified amount of meat ('low throughput' establishments), where possible accompanied by supporting evidence.
This consultation sets out our proposals for moving towards full cost recovery of the cost of meat hygiene and welfare at slaughter official controls (referred to in this consultation as ‘meat official controls’) in meat establishments. The proposals are introduced with a number of measures and commitments:
- the option of phased introduction of full cost recovery
- delivering greater efficiency in the costs of official controls, from further reduction of our own costs and collaborative working with industry
- a reduction in charges for those establishments that process fewer than a specified number of animals or less than a specified amount of meat, determined on the basis of a three year rolling average (’low throughput’ establishments)
- continued effort to influence reform of European Union official control requirements
Options are set out for removal of the current discount (including the allowances currently made for poultry plants using plant inspection assistants) in one step, or in a staged move. The latter option would be achieved in three approximately equal monetary steps.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) proposes definitions of ‘low throughput’ establishments, in terms of the quantity of carcases or amount of meat processed per year, assessed on a rolling three year average, and a maximum 70% reduction of full cost charges, subject to the EU minima, for meat official controls at those establishments, to be implemented in tandem with movement to full cost recovery for all other establishments.
Implementation of proposals
The proposals are intended to be implemented with effect from the charges made for the January 2012 charging period.
The FSA is committed to reducing the cost of delivering meat official controls (i.e. those controls for which charges are currently applied, and which are the subject of this consultation) for the meat industry in GB from the £55.5 million cost estimated for 2010/11 to £50 million over the next four years with no inflationary increases (a 9.9% reduction in real terms). The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Veterinary Public Health Unit (DARD VPHU) is committed to reducing the cost of delivering meat official controls for the meat industry in Northern Ireland and has developed a plan to deliver efficiencies between 2010/11 and 2013/14. This will reduce the current yearly cost by £275,000 by 2014, resulting in total savings of at least £850,000 over four years.
Without factoring in the reductions in cost outlined above, the FSA estimates that removing the current discount would cost the UK meat industry approximately £31.84m, and that the introduction of a maximum reduction for low throughput establishments would reduce the support provided to those establishments from approximately £1.8m to £1.4m. A detailed draft Business & Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) is attached to this document.
The Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) is currently discussing with the FSA and Rural Affairs Departments across the UK the potential to recover Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE) official control costs. Any such proposals will be subject to separate consultation at a later date. This means that TSE costs (including specified risk material (SRM) controls) are excluded from this consultation. There is also the potential for increased testing for Trichinella in pigs. This would have implications for meat hygiene charges payable by operators of slaughterhouses that slaughter pigs. Any future proposals will result in further public consultation.
1. Do nothing
2. A move to full cost recovery for meat official controls in one step
3. A staged move to full cost recovery for meat official controls in three steps.
4. A move to a maximum reduction of the full cost charge for low throughput establishments, subject to EU minima, in one step.
5. A staged move to a maximum reduction of the full cost charge for low throughput establishments, subject to EU minima, in three steps.
The FSA established a Meat Charging Stakeholder Group, with representation from industry sectors and consumers to provide a forum for discussion on how to implement the decision of the FSA Board. The Group met on 8 July 2010, and again on 29 September 2010, and will continue to meet at intervals as required. Details of the Group’s membership and terms of reference, together with minutes of meetings, will be published on the FSA’s website. At the close of this public consultation, the FSA will consider all responses received, together with the views expressed by the Meat Charging Stakeholder Group, and will develop a recommendation to Ministers on future charging for meat official controls.
If possible, please respond using the electronic form attached at Annex D, as this would make it easier for us to summarise your comments and to ensure that none are overlooked. The form lists the proposals and matters on which your views would be particularly appreciated with spaces for responses.
Other relevant documents
Regulation (EC) 882/2004 on official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and welfare rules – see link below.
Minutes of the FSA Board meeting, 10 November 2009 – see link below.
Responses are required by close 1 February 2011. Please state, in your response, whether you are responding as a private individual or on behalf of an organisation/company (including details of any stakeholders your organisation represents).
This consultation has been prepared in accordance with the HM Government Code of Practice on Consultation, which states that a consultation must follow better regulation best practice, including carrying out an Impact Assessment (Regulatory Impact Assessment in Scotland). The assessment is included in the consultation documents.
We are interested in what you thought of this consultation and would therefore welcome your general feedback on both the consultation package and overall consultation process. If you would like to assist us to improve the quality of future consultations, please feel free to share your thoughts with us by using the consultation feedback questionnaire.
Publication of personal data and confidentiality of responses
In accordance with the FSA principle of openness we shall keep a copy of the completed consultation and responses, to be made available to the public on request. The FSA will publish a summary of responses, which may include personal data, such as your full name. Disclosure of any other personal data would be made only upon request for the full consultation responses. If you do not want this information to be released, please complete and return the Publication of Personal Data Form. Return of this form does not mean that we will treat your response to the consultation as confidential, just your personal data.
Publication of response summary
Within three months of a consultation ending we aim to publish a summary of responses received and provide a link to it from this page.
If, after three months, the summary is still not showing, please contact the person who was responsible for the original consultation. Alternatively, you can contact the FSA Consultation Co-ordinator by email: firstname.lastname@example.org