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Dairy hygiene inspection charges
English dairy farmers will save nearly £1 million under proposals issued for consultation on the 11 April by the Food Standards Agency. The proposals will amend the Dairy Products (Hygiene) (Charges) Regulations 1995 so that inspections will be free. Dairy producers in England are currently charged £94 for each dairy hygiene inspection. The scrapping of these charges will form part of a package of long-term structural measures and short-term financial aid for UK farming. The package was unveiled at a summit meeting at 10 Downing Street, chaired by the Prime Minister, on 30 March.
Sir John Krebs, Chairman of the Food Standards Agency, said:
These changes to the inspection regime do not mean that there will be less protection for the consumer. All that will change is that farmers will no longer have to pay for them. There is a degree of urgency behind these proposals. The Government has made it plain that it wishes farmers to benefit from these savings as soon as possible. For this reason, we are having a relatively short consultation period. The closing date for responses will be 2 May this year.
There are about 18,000 dairy farmers in England and 10,000 inspections are carried out each year.
Charges for microbiological testing of raw cows' drinking milk are not affected by these changes.