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National Craft Butchers News

NCB Pleads for Action to save Small Abattoirs

National Craft Butchers Acting President John Mettrick Pleads for Action to save Small Abattoirs

National Craft Butchers are expecting proposals this week from FSA Operations on the future of meat inspection.

John Mettrick said, “The NCB team have been engaging positively with FSA and other government departments for some time now . They are listening and are sympathetic to our cause. However now is the time for the FSA to come forward with a firm declaration of intent.”

William Lloyd Williams, Policy director at NCB added, “We have all seen over the last 12 months how much the British public value their local butcher and farm shop. Without a thriving network of small and medium abattoirs the future of high quality, known provenance and low-carbon meat could be lost forever.

NCB Policy and Technical Manager pointed out that, “The UK authorities could do so much to help smaller abattoirs by introducing flexible, risk-based, less bureaucratic and IT savvy practices. It is particularly ironic that the EU has already moved in this direction but due to the timing of Brexit the UK has not been able to take advantage. It is imperative that Minister’s put meat inspection reform at the top of the agenda for post-Brexit legislation”.

John Mettrick concluded, “Craft Butchers are urging the FSA to bite the bullet and use this once in a lifetime opportunity to transform the prospects of the local abattoir sector.”

National Craft Butchers were founding members of the Campaign for Local Abattoirs and more recently the Abattoir Sector Group. The aim of these groups is to ensure the future of small abattoirs UK wide.

NCB hold regular Zoom meetings with abattoir members. These have been informal and popular events and members have been keen to feed in views and comments, which has informed NCB policy.

Local Abattoirs

Local Abattoirs

National Craft Butchers supports several of the conclusions in February’s Review of WATOK, we were especially glad to see the recognition the APGAW Small Abattoir report and the unique challenges faced by Local Abattoirs throughout the country.

The review identified a small number of instances where burdens might be reduced on businesses, including possible extension of the period of a Temporary Certificate of Competence for training purposes, currently this can only be extended for exceptional circumstances and this can be a challenge for those who are training at Local Abattoirs who offer discontinuous slaughter.  

To read the full post implementation review of the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (England) Regulations 2015 please click here -

For more information on National Craft Butchers work supporting Small & Local Abattoirs then please see the following:

Craft Butcher Magazine:

Campaign for Local Abattoirs:

Abattoir Sector Group:

10 Day rule to go at last!

10 Day rule to go at last!

10 Day rule to go at last!

National Craft Butchers warmly welcomes this long overdue decision by the Food Standards Agency to amend the infamous 10-day rule and clarify that fresh meat is no longer in scope. This is a policy change that has taken a painfully long time.
National Craft Butchers described the inclusion of fresh meat in the 10- day rule as, “one of the most contentious and criticised measures ever imposed on the food industry.” NCB have been a vocal critic, consistently challenging the Agency over the last several years. We pointed out that the measure was disproportionate and not risk-based and was unique in that no other country had anything similar.
We also pointed out that guidance of this type discriminates unfairly against smaller businesses who cannot afford extensive micro-testing to justify longer dates.
This change will not only benefit industry but will also drastically reduce food waste. The Waste and Resources Action Programme estimate that households throw away a staggering 240,000 tonnes of meat every year. Craft butchers consider this a criminal waste of money and an unacceptable strain on sustainability.
NCB Technical Manager Richard Stevenson commented: “First and foremost this is a great day for Craft Butchers and the whole industry. However, we should all remember that the measure should never have been adopted in the first place. A scientific study commissioned by BMPA and Meat and Livestock Australia (many congratulations to them) reported recently that fresh meat has the lowest spore loading of any food material or component. Frankly, the FSA should have already known this and on this occasion, they have done a great disservice to consumers by excessive use of the precautionary principle.”
John Mettrick, NCB Director of Legislation said: “ Great news for butchers that common sense has prevailed in the end and the regulation is proportional and matches the science”.

AHDB – Change Programme and Strategy 2021-2026

AHDB – Change Programme and Strategy 2021-2026

AHDB – Change Programme and Strategy 2021-2026

Having welcomed a much-needed review on what AHDB does and taken time to study the report, National Craft Butcher’s Chief Executive Roger Kelsey says, “Other than a cursory glance at environment, health and nutrition to promote red meat eating to consumers, it’s difficult to find anything in the report that points to the crucial role Craft Butchers and Small Abattoir’s play in improving animal welfare, supporting short local supply chains or developing craft skills and training; essential for a highly skilled workforce in a post COVID-19, post Brexit era and one with banned live exports and increased processing of red meat carcases for meat products to export or supply into the home market”.
National Craft Butchers represents both direct and indirect levy payers and looks forward to working with AHDB on all aspects of their 5 year strategy but especially those involving sustainability and promoting British meat at home, something our members are a vital part of. 
For a glimpse into the life of a small abattoir and levy payer see a recent article in Farmers Guardian featuring NCB member and Exec Councillor William Lloyd Williams MBE -
You can find the full AHDB strategy report here 
NCB members please let us know your comments and feedback on this by calling us on 01892 541412 or email