Increased charges in the UK for inspecting meat slaugherhouses and processing plants are set to come into effect next year.
Like many other regulators in the bloc the UK's Food Standards Agency has published a schedule of the charges as required under EU law. The proposed charges are outlined in a consultation document released yesterday. Current charges are implemented in England through the Meat (Official Controls Charges) (England) Regulations 2007. The charges are paid to the FSA's Meat Hygiene Service (MHS). The proposed legislation would increase current charging rates where necessary to meet the minimum EU levels. The FSA noted that the majority of the current rates in the UK are above the EU minimum levels and so would not be increased. The regulations specify different throughput rates for different weights of animals. However, inspections for cattle aged between six weeks and eight months at slaughter will now be charged at a lower EU rate. The changes will affect slaughterhouses that process cattle, boars, some ruminants such as deer, and turkeys. All operators will continue to pay the lesser of time costs or throughput charges, the FSA stated. The proposed charges are due to come into force on 31 December 2007 to coincide with the start of the Meat Hygiene Service's January accounting period.
The deadline for comments is 17 October 2007.