The Food Standards Agency is to continue to fund the cost of Meat Hygiene Service enforcement of anti-BSE measures at licensed abattoirs and meat cutting premises for a further two years, it was announced today.

This is in line with the principles set out in the Action Plan for Farming, announced by the Prime Minister on 30th March this year.

The current annual cost of enforcing the necessary regulations – which require the removal and safe disposal of animal tissue that may contain BSE infectivity – for these two extra years is estimated at around £20 million a year.

Today’s decision to continue the funding until 31st March 2004 means that the industry will not have to face an extra financial burden. It also means that consumers – whose interests are paramount in all that the Agency does – can be reassured that safety controls are being maintained to a high standard without any of the costs being passed on.