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Meat inspection charges
A Task Force set up by the Food Standards Agency to look at the issue of meat inspection charges held its first meeting on 6 April. One of its key tasks will be to consider alternative ways of minimising costs faced by low volume plants.
Among the issues discussed was the legal constraints and the current charging arrangements. It also agreed an outline work programme and a deadline - 31 May - for submitting its report to the larger group of interests. It will then be sent to the FSA for consideration.
The Task Force has been set up as part of the recommendations of the Meat Industry Red Tape Working Group (the Pooley Group). Its terms of reference are:
to explore in more detail all the issues surrounding a "capping" approach to charging referred to in the recommendations of the Meat Industy Red Tape Working Group; and
to consider alternative approaches to charging.
At its initial meeting, the task force recognised the need to act quickly in submitting its report, but nevertheless considered that it would need sufficient time for the in-depth investigations it considered necessary and for proper consideration of the possible options. The task force therefore asked for the deadline to be set at 31 May. The FSA has agreed to this the request.