7 March 1997

France pays twice as much for MLC

FRENCH farmers paid nearly twice as much levy money towards their equivalent of the MLC last year compared with 1995.

The levy, which rose at the beginning of last year from 50FF/t (£5.80/t) to 84FF/t (£9.80/t), is levied at the abattoir from both producers and retailers, who pay half each, explained Jean-Louis Bignon, director of the French MLC equivalent Interbev.

"It took us over two years to convince producers that we needed a levy increase – it had been running at the same level for the last 10 years. We were fortunate that the increase came before the BSE crisis."

The increased levy was to be spent on marketing – M. Bignon admitting to be a fan of MLC marketing efforts – but has since been used to provide consumers with more information about meat and its safety.

Interbev has a total budget of 150mFF (£17m) a year, with 80mFF (£9.3m) of that being earmarked for marketing.

, including the 2mFF (£232,000) being spent on the exhibit at SIAL.

&#8226 British producers currently pay a general MLC levy of £2.19/carcass, and a further £2.80/carcass towards promotional work. Average carcass weight is 306kg, so levy/t equates to about £16.30/t, all paid at farm level. Slaughterings of clean cattle numbers in France are, however, higher than those in the UK, with xxxxxhead/year, compared with xxxxxxx head/year in the UK.

Traceability and consumer confidence were the watchwords at last weeks Salon de lAgriculture show in Paris. Emma Penny reports

Last weeks SIAshow in Paris provided an excellent opportunity to inform visitors – half of whom were customers – about the meat industry.