Back in February 2013 the Commission proposed that every time an official came to check your hygiene practices they would charge “full cost recovery”.
We discussed this with Mr Alexander Rogge of DG Sanco and it was agreed that all very small food businesses would be exempt. This was written in to the draft regulation: Article 82 § 2 “Enterprises employing fewer than 10 persons and whose annual turnover or annual balance sheet total does not exceed EUR2 million shall be exempt from the payment of the fees provided for in Article 77.”
The logic for this was that these inspections are not for the benefit of the business but for the public. Therefore the public should pay through taxes – as they always have done. Very small food businesses cannot budget for these random visits and so would suffer real hardship. We were told too that the proposal could lead to practices akin to bribery or intimidation. The original Commission idea was for reimbursement. Exemption would save bureaucracy.
This exemption was accepted throughout the consultation. Now the ENVI committee under Mr Pirillo in Brussels has deleted it without recourse to the consultees. The issue now goes to the full European Parliament on 14th April.