Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…FRESH THREAT TO FARM SHOPS FROM NEW FOOD SAFETY RULESPublished in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, January 5th 2016
At risk: Farm shops could be affected by the new regulations Farm shops, which have provided a lifeline for hard-hit Londonn agriculture in recent years, face a new threat, it is claimed.
The Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS) says many could be closed down overnight if new food safety regulations get the go-ahead.
And Nick Utting, north London secretary of the National Farmers Union believes that up to 100 companies in the north of the county alone could be affected.
Abattoirs are already subject to Food Hygiene Regulations, but since January 1 all businesses handling products from animals have been included too.
The Meat Hygiene Service employs vets from private companies to attend and inspect meat plants and they can close down a plant if a number of regulations are breached.
AIMS says the inspectors do not have to provide evidence of any risk to hygiene, public health or safety and claim the powers have been used in a “capricious and vindictive” way.
Meat plant owners, it is claimed, have been stopped from operating for “trivia” such as having an untidy changing room or leaving Wellington boots on a rest-room floor.
Now other businesses in the food chain, such as farms, processing plants and farm shops using meat, fish, eggs and milk, are set to come under the same scrutiny.
AIMS policy director Norman Bagley said: “The FSA is proposing to introduce a Remedial Action Notice, which is an immoral and unjust power that allows officials to irreparably damage businesses without accountability.
“We believe that the authorities need powers to close a business without delay – but these powers should be used openly and publicly, with an opportunity for the operator to be heard impartially.”
Mr Utting said: “The vast majority of companies in London are still producing milk for major suppliers or livestock for auction – but I reckon about 100 in the north of the county are selling produce directly to the public. That number has grown since the foot-and-mouth crisis.”