statutory obligations. They Conveyancing Melbourne Reviews said that they were working to correct that situation and had produced a programme of changes designed over time to bring all supervision fully into line with statutory requirements. Full immediate compliance was not possible due to a shortfall in the number of veterinarians available to undertake meat hygiene work in the United Kingdom.
They explained that the guidelines issued on 23 August 1996 had been intended to ensure the maximum possible level of veterinary. supervision consistent with the long-term shortage of veterinarians, and had in effect requires the largest abattoirs to be under permanent veterinary supervision. however, they recognised that the guidelines did not comply with the Directives, and had withdrawn them. On 5 February 1992 MAF circulated internally a draft of the regulations which they intended would implement the 1991 Directive. In an accompanying note they said that in general their approach had been to take the least onerous interpretation of the Directive consistent with protecting human health and maintaining trade and consumer confidence, and consistent with then existing domestic legislation.
Detailed rules on how much time the official veterinarian should spend in different classes of premises were not spelled out in the regulations; that would appear as guidance in the FSH Circular which would accompany the regulations. That would mean that they could provide sufficient flexibility to take account of different plants and avoid tying local authorities to targets which might be difficult to meet.
The guidance would lay down minimum visiting intervals, set out what the veterinarian should cover during inspection visits and within those guidelines urge local. In that way additional inspections, and therefore costs to operators, could partly be avoided by good practice and high standards on their part. The draft submission said that the regulations aimed to balance the legitimate interests of consumers, enforcement authorities and businesses. in general the line taken was to require the minimum which was consistent with the spirit of the Directive and with current domestic legislation. On the subject of veterinary supervision the draft submission said that MAFF had sought to concentrate veterinary resources at abattoirs and to minimise their use downstream at cutting plants and cold stores. That was partly to ease what MAFF anticipated would be a difficult staffing problem for local authorities and partly to address the problem of the cost of meat inspections.