The FSA board is to next week vote on reforming the much-maligned charging and discount structure for its official controls regime for meat.

Board members are to consider proposals prepared by an industry working group to simplify the discount system following claims of unfairness, inefficiency, and lack of transparency.

Suppliers are charged by the FSA for the provision of official controls such as inspections, with charges discounted based on the length of time a supplier uses FSA services. The current scheme was described by working group chair Bill Stow as “not fit for purpose” because it could charge very different amounts to similar sized plants.”

The group’s proposals include the introduction of discount bands that reduce as companies use more FSA resources.

The plans have met a mixed response, with the British Meat Processors Association stating they would have no benefit for large producers, while the NFU said it supported the proposals in general.

Stow claimed while some companies would potentially lose out under the proposed scheme, for many food business operators “the change will be very marginal.”