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With much of the UK’s legislation coming from Brussels, making sure the voice of small British businesses is heard in the EU is essential to ensure their interests are reflected at a national level.
The UK achieved this for small slaughterhouses when negotiating the Food Hygiene Regulations. The overall legislation was changed to make the duty of food businesses to produce food safely more transparent and to achieve consistency. For the first time, it included most areas of farming, covering the whole food chain from farm to fork.
The UK wanted to reduce the cost to small slaughterhouses of an official veterinarian, so it outlined circumstances when a full-time vet would not be needed. As a result, the exceptions were included in the final regulation.
Previous hygiene legislation meant that small slaughterhouses were exempt from having to provide certain facilities and the flexibility of the new EU legislation means this is unchanged. Not only does this reduce the burden of the new legislation, but it also helps small slaughterhouses meet the requirements of the new hygiene legislation and continue to operate.
The Food Standards Agency also hopes to run a pilot project with the aim of exploring whether the level of official inspections in small game handling establishments can be reduced.
We had regular discussions with the full range of stakeholders, including trade associations representing the meat industry, consumer groups, as well as small businesses. This was to make sure that the views of all stakeholders could be taken into account when identifying where flexible approaches were needed.