The long controversy that has waxed furiously around the implementation of the EEC Directives on the inspection of poultry meat and hygiene standards to be observed in poultry slaughterhouses, cutting‐up premises, &c, appears to be resolved at last. (The Prayer lodged against the Regulations when they were formally laid before Parliament just before the summer recess, which meant they would have to be debated when the House reassembled, could have resulted in some delay to the early operative dates, but little chance of the main proposals being changed.) The controversy began as soon as the EEC draft directive was published and has continued from the Directive of 1971 with 1975 amendments. There has been long and painstaking study of problems by the Ministry with all interested parties; enforcement was not the least of these. The expansion and growth of the poultry meat industry in the past decade has been tremendous and the constitution of what is virtually a new service, within the framework of general food inspection, was inevitable. None will question the need for efficient inspection or improved and higher standards of hygiene, but the extent of the organization in the first and the enormous cost of structural and other alterations to premises in the second, were seen as formidable tasks, and costly. The execution and enforcement of the new Regulations is assigned to local authorities (District, Metropolitan and London Borough Councils), who are empowered to make charges for inspection, licences, etc., to recoup the full costs of administration. The Government had previously promised that the cost of this new service, which when fully operative, will be significant, would not fall upon the already over‐burdened economies of local authorities. The figure of a penny per bird is given; in those areas with very large poultry processing plants, with annual outputs counted in millions of birds, this levy should adequately cover costs of enforcing the Regulations, but there are many areas with only one of a few small concerns with annual killings of perhaps no more than 200,000 birds—this much we know from perusing annual health reports received at the offices of this Journal—and the returns from charges will certainly be inadequate to cover the cost of extra staff. The Regulations require the appointment of “official veterinary surgeons” and “poultry meat inspectors”, both new to local government.
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