A public consultation on proposed changes to charges for the National Residues Control Programme has been launched on Wednesday 17 January by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD).
The proposals will ensure that the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments can continue to recover the total costs of delivering the National Residues Control Programme (NRCP) – a statutory programme designed to help identify residues of banned substances, veterinary medicines and contaminants in products of animal origin which are destined for the food chain.
The NRCP involves collecting random samples of products of animal origin such as eggs, milk, red meat, poultry meat and farmed fish at the point of slaughter or processing. In Great Britain, over 30,000 samples are taken and analysed each year.
The NRCP, while helping to protect human health, also assures the UK’s trading partners about the quality and safety of exported products of animal origin. The programme helps to maintain the UK’s global reputation and support international trade worth billions per annum to the UK economy.
In line with HMT rules on managing public money, the VMD invoices food business operators to recover the costs of delivering the NRCP, which are currently £5 million per annum. These charges have remained the same for over ten years – the last increase in these charges was in 2011.
However, these costs are forecast to rise to £6.1 million by 2026 due to a rise in the price of procuring contractors to carry out the sampling and testing.
Therefore, the VMD proposes to raise these statutory charges over the next two financial years. This will ensure full cost recovery for delivering the scheme, as required by HMT.
Veterinary Medicines Directorate chief executive officer Abi Seager said: “The National Residues Control Programme is fundamental to assuring the UK’s trading partners about the quality and safety of exported products of animal origin.
“The proposals outlined will ensure that we can continue to run this important programme, which helps to support international trade worth billions of pounds a year to the UK economy.”