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Meat official control charges – proposal to remove plan inspection assistant discount

This consultation proposes the removal of the supplementary discount for poultry slaughterhouse Food Business Operators with Plant Inspection Assistant systems and an adjustment to the core meat industry discount to mitigate any impact.

About this consultation

Who will this consultation be of most interest to?

Poultry or rabbit slaughterhouse Food Business Operator and meat industry representative organisations.

What is the purpose of this consultation?

The proposed change will remove an administrative burden from the industry and the FSA. Action is proposed to mitigate the likely financial impact. When the current system of discounts on meat official control charges was introduced in 2016/17 the core discount to poultry and red meat slaughterhouses, and game handling establishments, was supplemented by an extra discount for poultry premises operating Plant Inspection Assistant (PIA) systems.

Under such systems PIAs employed by Food Business Operators (FBOs) carry out some official controls under the supervision and direction of the FSA Official Veterinarian. FBOs can make claims for a supplementary discount in recognition of their costs for the time their staff spend carrying out official controls.

The supplementary PIA discount was developed by industry stakeholders who were members of the Steering Group on Meat Charging. The PIA discount was intended to act as an incentive for FBOs to switch from Meat Hygiene Inspectors (MHIs) to PIAs. It sought to do this by ensuring that the official controls charges for an FBO making such a switch would be no higher than if they used MHIs and they could be lower.

It is proposed that the PIA element of the official controls charges discount is removed for the following main reasons:

  1. The process is administratively burdensome for FBOs and the FSA with information required from FBOs on an annual and monthly basis. This data is collated, validated and processed by the FSA for inclusion in the charges calculation.
  2. The supplementary discount was developed by meat industry stakeholders as part of the Steering Group on Meat Charging’s work as an incentive for poultry and rabbit slaughterhouses to switch to PIAs. There has been no discernible impact attributable to the discount on decisions by FBOs that they wish to switch to PIAs.
  3. The value of the PIA discount in 2017/18 was less than £32,000 across the industry but approximately 70% of this was received by four FBOs. The discount is greatest where the costs of the PIAs are relatively high.

Action is proposed to mitigate the impact on the poultry sector by maintaining the overall proportion split of discounts between the poultry, red meat and game sectors. Specific estimates have been sent to the poultry FBOs affected. The purpose of this consultation is to receive views and further information from the industry on this proposed change and its potential impact.

Consultation pack

Comments and views

Responses should be submitted by 25 January 2019 by email to: 

They can also be submitted by post to:

PIA Consultation
Food Standards Agency
Foss House
Kings Pool
Peasholme Green

An electronic version of Annex C is available which can be completed and emailed in response. 

Please state in your response whether you are responding as a private individual or on behalf of a trade body, organisation or company, including details of any stakeholders your organisation represents.

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.

You can find information on how we handle data provided in response to consultations in our Consultations privacy notice.

Further information

This consultation has been prepared in accordance with HM Government Consultation Principles. If an Impact Assessment has been produced, this is included in the consultation documents. If no Impact Assessment has been provided, the reason will be given in the consultation document.