Plan to slash the number of dairy inspections

INSPECTIONS will become much less frequent for most dairy farms under proposals put forward by the Food Standards Agency, and welcomed by the NFU, to take effect from April this year.

The FSA says it will save 1.2m for taxpayers and 130,000 for farmers by making two years the standard interval for hygiene inspections and extending it to 10 years for members of the Assured Dairy Farm scheme, who are already regularly checked for their Red Tractor accreditation. Assured farms supply 95 per cent of UK milk.

The FSA says the new regime will reduce hygiene inspections from around 11,335 a year across England and Wales to 2,890. The new regime would include more follow-up inspections for farms which fail once and inspections every six months for the tiny number of suppliers of unpasteurised milk. NFU dairy chairman Mansel Raymond said: "These ambitious proposals will make a huge difference."

The FSA is consulting on the proposal until March 14. Details at www.food.gov.uk but comments can be sent direct to chris.rowswell@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk/

CW 29/1/11

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