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Food: Eggs

Volume 708: debated on Thursday 26 February 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government why the charge for eggs in the Charges for Residues Surveillance (Amendment) Regulations 2008 (SI 2008/2999) has risen by 27.5 per cent; and what cost elements are involved. [HL1471]

The actual increase to the egg industry in 2008-09 is 2.5 per cent. This is in line with the overall increase in charges needed to fund statutory surveillance for residues of veterinary medicinal products and certain other substances in British produce.

Charges to the various industry sectors involved in the residues surveillance programme were not adjusted between 1997 and 2003. When the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), which operates the surveillance programme, calculated the changes needed to charges to recover its costs it was apparent that large increases were needed in the egg sector. This was in part owing to the administrative burden of invoicing several hundred egg producers based on their throughput.

In response to the consultation exercise, the VMD entered into an agreement with the British Egg Industry Council (BEIC) to reduce the administrative burden on egg companies. The BEIC now pays the charge direct to the VMD and recovers the costs as it sees fit from the largest egg companies. This agreement has resulted in substantial savings to the egg industry in respect of residues surveillance.

The 27.5 per cent figure in the statutory instrument is the increase that would be needed if the arrangement with the BEIC ended and the VMD needed to return to collecting the charges from all eligible egg companies. The charge paid by the BEIC represents the full cost of running the statutory surveillance for residues of veterinary medicines and certain other substances in Great Britain that is required under Council Directive 96/23/EC. This includes the collection and transport of samples, analytical costs and follow-up inspections on the farm of origin of non-compliant results.