End of the Over Thirty Month scheme inches closer

THE END of the Over Thirty Month scheme has inched a step closer following a key meeting of the Food Standards Agency’s board.

The FSA board has agreed to recommend to ministers that the OTM rule can be changed because an effective BSE testing system has been designed and trialled.

During a two hour meeting on Mon (Aug 15), the board agreed that if a testing regime was implemented it would be able to operate across the UK to the highest standards.

But the board stressed that they did see as “prerequisites” the implementation of certain measures.

It said DEFRA must keep the current OTMS running in parallel with the new system until it was clear there was sufficient capacity to cope with demand for the slaughter of OTM animals.

It also said that there was a need for the move to be explained to the public at the earliest opportunity.

The FSA’s chairman Dame Deidre Hutton is expected to write immediately to ministers setting out the agency’s recommendations.

According to paper circulated at the meeting, if ministers accept the proposals, and everything goes as planned, the OTMS scheme could end in 11 weeks time.

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