Inspection fees to hit struggling Scottish livestock

Scotland’s livestock sector could face significant extra costs if plans to force meat hygiene inspection fees on to abattoirs and farmers are given the go-ahead.

The Food Standards Agency is set to discuss the possibility of fully recovering costs of inspections during its board meeting on Tuesday (10 November).

The charges had been frozen in June this year following industry debate with the FSA.

NFU Scotland said the latest discussion raised the potential of adding significant additional costs on to Scotland’s struggling abattoir sector which would inevitable reach farmers.

Nigel Miller, NFUS vice-president, added that it was disappointing that fully recovering costs had been put back on the table before reform of the Meat Hygiene Service was completed.

“Industry is pushing for inspections to move to a more risk-based approach,” he said.

“Simplified inspection regimes for low risk animals such as lambs need to be agreed and there are specific areas relating to poultrymeat requirements that have still to be fully addressed.

“Progress in these areas has the potential to strip out considerable costs to plant operators and must be resolved before the debate on full cost recovery can be considered in earnest.”