Association food group, The Guild of Fine Food is urging all food businesses to sign an online petition today against planned EU rules which would allow local authorities to charge food businesses a full recovery fee for hygiene inspections, regardless of turnover and/or employee numbers.
Last year the European Commission proposed that public bodies should be allowed to make a charge every time an official visited food premises to check hygiene. Last week, according to reports, MEP’s removed the existing exemption for small businesses. In practice it could mean unexpected bills of up to £500 for small shops or artisan food producers every time they receive a random inspection.
Kicking the underdog when it’s already down? One more Brussels hoop to jump through? A cynical council fundraising program? All of the above?
Guild of Fine Food managing director John Farrand said: “This rule could affect 90% of Guild member businesses, as well as thousands of others around the UK, and we’re appalled at the way ENVI dropped the exemption for small businesses at the last minute. With the majority of food businesses falling into the micro-business category, this will be seen by local authorities as a licence to print money.”
The European Parliament are due to vote on this next Monday 14th April – so don’t waste anytime, sign the petition today.