Suffolk Show 2012: Local abattoirs under threat from red tape – warning

THE future of our local abattoirs and butchers is under threat from costly over-regulation, MPs at the Suffolk Show have been warned.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders (NFMFT) and the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS) met with MPs at the event to highlight their concerns. They centre around guidelines issued by the Food Standards Agency on cross contamination which they claim are unnecessarily complex, and proposals for “unaffordable” meat inspection charges.

Caroline Cranbrook, CLA Suffolk Vice President said: “The Food Standards Agency (FSA)’s proposal to recover all inspection costs from the industry threatens our meat trade right through the chain from farm to fork.

“Unless an affordable, less bureaucratic and more efficient inspection system is introduced, many abattoirs will close.

“Without a local abattoir, butchers, farm shops and livestock farmers will all suffer, as will the landscape and the environment.”

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Richard Stevenson, NFMFT Technical Manager said the FSA guidelines on cross contamination were “a red tape nightmare” for small food businesses.

“The FSA actively encourages council inspectors to “enforce” the guidelines. They are therefore tantamount to new regulations; new regulations that have never been scrutinised by Parliament or approved by ministers in either Westminster or Brussels,” he said.

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Norman Bagley, AIMS Chief Executive said: “Butchers need access to abattoirs to slaughter their livestock and this service has received a shot in the arm by the recent decision to turn down the FSA’s ruinous proposals for full cost recovery. We now need to move on and introduce a cost effective outsourced service that is deliverable within existing regulations which will help and encourage small businesses to grow, rather than shutting them down.”

FSB Suffolk chairman Chris Soule added: “The rural and wider economy depends on a food industry sector that is able to function well and be confident of growth. Good leadership should not work against the industry but work with it. The economy of Great Britain, this region and the county of Suffolk depends on a food industry sector that is able to function well and be confident of steady growth. Good government should not work against the industry but work with it.”

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