The British poultry industry has welcomed a new report from EFSA, which recommends a new approach to poultry hygiene inspections to protect the public from salmonella and campylobacter.

EFSA said current visual inspections - which are mandatory for all meat types under EU legislation - were of limited use for detecting salmonella or campylobacter contamination, and suggested a more “risk-based” system, under which the food business operator would take on more responsibility for hygiene standards.

The British Poultry Council said this was a “positive and sensible” suggestion, adding UK suppliers had long argued for a new, integrated approach to meat inspections.

Bernard Matthews MD Rob Mears added UK poultry producers already had to adhere to higher standards than in many other EU states and said he hoped EFSA’s proposals would help level the playing field. “We entirely welcome what EFSA has put out,” he added.

The proposals will now be reviewed by the European Commission, with new regulation not expected to be in place before the end of 2013.