A campaign for compulsory licensing of all food premises, including shops, manufacturers and caterers, has been launched by consumer groups and major retailers. A spokeswoman from the Consumers' Association said: "At the moment, no retailer is required to have a food licence, except butchers who sell cooked and raw meat. "We're calling for this to be extended to all premises." The call ­ backed by stores such as Safeway and Morrisons ­ coincides with the release of research showing that the licensing of butchers in Birmingham led to significant hygiene improvements. But the Food Standards Agency is not in favour. Association of Convenience Stores public affairs manager James Lowman slammed the campaign. "We're unconvinced licensing would raise standards ­ it would just impose more bureacracy. We're in favour of resources being directed more towards proactive measures." {{NEWS }}