Wales considers devolved FSA powers

The Food Standard Agency’s responsibilities and budgets in Wales may be devolved to the Welsh Government.

First minister Carwyn Jones hinted he was considering the measure following the Food Standards Agency’s decision to reclaim the full cost of inspecting meat in abattoirs from next April.

In response to a question by Plaid Cymru’s rural affairs spokesperson, Llyr Huws Gruffydd AM, Mr Jones said a move towards devolving FSA budgets and responsibilities was under consideration. “A report has been published, not into abattoirs itself, but into the way legislation regarding food is made in Wales,” Mr Jones said.

“We are considering all aspects of the Food Standards Agency in order to make sure that all new legislation is put in front of the Assembly to deal with all parts of food in Wales.”

Mr Gruffydd had raised the issue because of concern that cost pressures would force abattoirs to close.

“Welsh abattoirs and, subsequently, our farming communities in Wales will be adversely affected by the changes proposed by the FSA brought about by the ConDem cuts,” he said.

Mr Gruffydd said many small abattoirs had closed in recent years, often due to bureaucratic pressures and costs.

“This can only get worse with the FSA’s decision to reclaim the cost of their inspections from the abattoirs,” he said.

“It is clear that farming and agriculture is very different in scale to that in England. Therefore it is right that the duties and budgets of the FSA should be devolved so that it can best serve the needs of Wales.

“I was very pleased to hear that the first minister and his government are considering this, and I look forward to hearing their conclusions.”