THE National Farmers' Union is claiming a small but significant victory in a red tape battle with European Union bureaucrats over food hygiene regulations which would impose on farms cleanliness regimes designed for huge food-processing complexes.
The regulations are due to come into force in 2006 and the NFU has been fighting them for the past four years. Now, it says, Britain's Food Standards Agency has agreed with alternative, simpler hygiene regimes and will in turn recommend them to the EU.
NFU Vice President Meurig Raymond said: "This consultation from the FSA takes UK farmers a step closer towards a more practical and workable solution for the application of food hygiene regulations on farm.
"It is an invaluable opportunity to explore ways of dismantling some of the ineffectual and burdensome layers of farm and plant inspections, and replace them with a more cost-effective and efficient system of food safety controls, which will ensure high standards with a minimum impact on the day-to-day running of farm businesses."