Small retailers and manufacturers are fighting changes to new EU regulations that could enable councils to saddle them with charges for hygiene inspections.

More than 1,000 businesses have signed a petition calling for MEPs to push for a small business exemption from regulations that would enable local authorities to charge for inspections. The regulation originally exempted microbusinesses, but campaigners said this clause had been dropped without consultation. The EU parliament will vote on the regulations on Monday.

“Very small food businesses cannot budget for these random visits,” said Bob Salmon, director of Food Solutions publishing, who is leading the petition.