The Food Standards Agency has approved a 4% increase to charges for official controls in UK meat businesses – such as abattoirs and cutting plants.

It will also introduce a new system of calculating charges based on the time cost of the inspection process, but has decided not to go ahead with plans to introduce a new charge for controls on the removal of specified risk material.

NFU livestock board chairman Alistair Mackintosh said the FSA had listened to the meat industry’s concerns and chosen the lowest cost increase, but he was still concerned any higher costs could be passed back down the chain.

“We’re extremely concerned that any additional costs could have an impact on the operational viability of meat plants and, therefore, the production chain as a whole.”

The British Meat Processors Association said more could be done to reform the meat hygiene and TSE regimes to deliver a “more proportionate and efficient system of controls”.