Proposals by the FSA to pass on the costs of meat plant inspections to the meat industry could lead to higher retail prices for beef, producer organisations have warned.

The FSA launched a consultation last week on plans to pass on the full costs for hygiene inspections, currently partly funded by the taxpayer, with about £20m expected to be passed on to farmers.

The NFU slammed the proposals, which it said would threaten the "viability" of many farms at a time when feed costs were soaring.