NFU responds to poultry meat and egg marketing regulations consultations

Free range hens enjoying the sunshine

The NFU has submitted responses to Defra’s recent consultations on proposed changes to poultry and egg marketing standards regulations.

Defra proposed the following changes to the poultry meat marketing regulations (PMMR). The below have been summarised from Defra’s consultation document:

  • Enable a risk-based approach to PMMR enforcement – Defra proposed establishing a baseline frequency for checks (labelling, presentation, grading, weight and water content) to be carried out, with compliance levels determining the frequency of subsequent checks.
  • Grant charging powers to port health authorities (PHAs) and local authorities (LAs) so that the cost of the PMMR checks on imported poultry meat can be recovered.
  • Replace fixed fees for water content tests with a flexible clause on charging so that the full cost can be recovered from food businesses.

While the NFU is supportive of a risk-based approach to checks, our response highlighted that this must be appropriate and proportionate to the scale and throughput of the business in question and not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. We also raised concerns that these proposals should not be seen as an opportunity to transfer additional cost to industry.

Egg marketing standards regulations

Defra proposed amending marketing standards regulations so that checks on equivalent imported Class A eggs can continue to take place at the point of destination, rather than at the border, once import controls are introduced.

The NFU response highlighted that this proposed amendment does not benefit British egg producers and supports continued access to the UK market for EU-produced eggs. Any changes such as these should only be considered as part of a reciprocal arrangement that would benefit the export of UK eggs.