The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has rejected the allegation that it overcharged small abattoirs and slaughterhouses under its remit.

Earlier this year, new slaughter inspection fees under an EU regulation were introduced but the Irish Farmers Journal learned that the fee changes have not been updated in abattoirs and slaughterhouses that fall under the FSAI’s remit.

The fees were implemented in larger meat factories overseen by the Department of Agriculture. There is now a price difference in slaughter fees in abattoirs compared to larger factories and sources told this newspaper that they believed the difference in fees to abattoirs could be as much as €80,000.

However, the FSAI has hit back at the idea that it is responsible for the charging issue and pointed back to the role of local authorities.

“Local authorities received training from the FSAI and other agencies on various aspects of the Regulation in the four years since it was published.

“Local authorities were also included in the consultations by the Department of Agriculture on the national legislation (SI No 22 of 2020) that gives effect to the EU Regulation – this includes a provision allowing local authorities to set and charge fees in accordance with the EU regulation,” the FSAI said.

Discussions are still ongoing between local authorities and the FSAI on the fee changes.

“We would not accept that there has been overcharging. The decisions on how to apply the charging requirements of the EU Regulation (EU) 2017/625 are still to be made for the local authority sector,” the FSAI added.