asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they intend to have an independent audit of the Meat Hygiene Service inspection system; if so, when this will be completed; and whether such a review will require the service to operate within a reduced budget closer to the current level of charge income from abattoirs. [HL4578]
The board of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) commissioned a review of the delivery of official controls in approved meat premises in October 2006. It is planning to consider the outcome of the review at its meeting in July 2007. The review is not an independent audit of the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) but a wider look into a range of options for improving the effectiveness, including cost-effectiveness, of how official controls are delivered in approved meat plants. As the MHS is an agency of the FSA, the FSA board will decide the future budget for the MHS, taking into account the outcome of the review.