Over zealous application of new EU hygiene laws by the UK authorities could lead to the closure of more than a third of abattoirs according to a BBC report.

Some abattoirs are being expected to install better hygiene equipment than hospitals, the Forum of Private Business claimed, but the Food Standards Agency said it is simply handing out early warnings. The FSA said inspectors must ensure abattoirs are prepared for the new laws, which come into force next year and insisted that no abattoir is currently under threat of closure.

The Forum of Private Business told the BBC Radio 4's Farming Today programme that most of the slaughterhouses to receive warnings were small and medium sized. Its members were due travel to Brussels on Monday, to request written evidence clarifying exactly how the new standards should be interpreted.