NVWA tariffs remain too high

Photo: Christian Dubovan

Published in Vleesmagazine April 2019 - Industry Special

The new control regulation (OCR) will come into force on 14 December 2019 and is already causing unrest in meat country. The tariffs of the NVWA are very high so every change can put pressure on the budget of a company. It is logical that this must be critically examined.

New control regulation difficult for small abattoirs

A major problem can arise in small slaughterhouses. According to the delegated regulation of 8 February 2019, supplementing control regulation with regard to official controls on the production of meat, slaughterhouses that slaughter more than 1,000 livestock units (LU) per year must receive permanent supervision. Currently in the Netherlands this is still determined by the number of slaughters per hour and per week and slaughterhouses that slaughter 4, 20 or 50 LU per week do not have permanent supervision. But with the high NVWA rates, the transition to permanent supervision for small slaughterhouses becomes unbridgeable. The aim of this border provision was to create harmony, but then this should also apply to the inspection costs within the EU. There is, however, an escape clause. The competent authority may increase the set limit of 1 000 ABU if the slaughterhouses meet the definition of a low-capacity slaughterhouse and the combined annual production does not exceed 5 % of the total fresh meat produced in the Member State. In terms of production size, this should be possible! A definition of "low-capacity slaughterhouse" can be filled in by the NVWA itself with a risk analysis and indication that slaughtering only takes place during part of the working day or during the entire working day but not on every working day of the week. So that offers opportunities.

Meat inspections and official controls

Furthermore, the delegated regulation provides criteria and conditions for certain tasks related to meat inspection in slaughterhouses and slaughterhouses and official controls. For example, controls and audits of cutting plants cutting plants may also be carried out by personnel other than the official veterinarian and official and official auxiliary. Under certain conditions, AM inspections may also be carried out under the supervision of an official veterinarian may also be carried out by an official auxiliary. may also be carried out by an official auxiliary.

And instead of at the slaughterhouse, it will soon be possible to carry out an AM test on the farm of origin. AM inspection can also be carried out at the farm of origin. This would offer greater efficiency This would offer more efficiency in the control of, among other things, animal welfare and animal hygiene.

Slaughterhouse staff assisting with official controls and official controls and other forms of control must be trained "to the satisfaction of the competent authorities". competent authorities'. The following minimum training requirements must be met minimum training requirements, to the extent relevant to their assistance task. assistance task.

Appeal procedure tariffs NVWA

An interesting appeal procedure is currently underway about the level of the NVWA fees. Four Four large pig slaughterhouses have brought an appeal before the College van Appeal for Trade and Industry (CBb) because they are of the opinion that the tariffs of the NVWA 33% are too high. On 17 July 2018, a provisional conclusion was drawn. The NVWA wrongfully collected training fees, provides insufficient insight into the construction of tariffs, provides insufficient information and insight for residue checks, surcharge outside opening walk-out surcharge, late registration surcharge, extra quarters and actual costs. costs'.

Because before the College the European Court of Justice wants to know who exactly is meant by 'personnel involved in official business'. Court of Justice who exactly is meant by 'staff involved in official and 'staff involved in official controls'. And what And what is meant by 'fees may not exceed the costs borne by the competent authorities' in relation to quarters requested but not actually worked. actually not worked.

Increasing costs NVWA taken very liberally

The salaries of the staff involved in official controls and the costs for the staff involved in involved in their implementation (including costs for equipment instruments, equipment, training, as well as travel and associated costs may be included in the calculation of the NVWA's control costs. control costs of the NVWA. But the NVWA also includes items such as accommodation, general material costs, depreciation costs, office costs, service implementation ICT, specific costs such as uniforms, commuting costs, hiring of other staff and other personnel costs. other personnel and other personnel costs. But is that allowed? Member States have the freedom to charge a higher rate, as long as this does not exceed the actual costs. actual costs. But these costs have been interpreted very broadly. interpreted. So there will be an answer to this. In the meantime the NVWA has already In the meantime, the NVWA has already started reimbursing the overpaid training costs of staff who were not directly involved in the official controls. This concerns the period from 17 July 2018 (CBb judgment) and 31 December 2018 and applies to all companies. It concerns 6,9% over the NVWA tariffs and 7,9% of the CDB tariffs. The NVWA tariffs for 2019 have already been adjusted accordingly. A similar case has previously played out in Denmark.

Now we have to wait for the judgment of the European Court. Then we can see whether the slaughterhouses are also vindicated on the other points. are found to be in the right on the other points. If so, it is a large sum of money. money. In addition to the four large pig slaughterhouses, there are more than 400 companies that have similar objections outstanding. Businesses that have not lodged an objection can do so with retrospective effect. The NVWA will have to close the gaps that have arisen The NVWA will have to close the gaps that have arisen and Article 80 of the OCR is a godsend. This states that States may also collect 'other fees or charges' to cover the official controls and activities. of the official controls and activities. So, left or right, as long as politicians As long as politicians want the NVWA to cover its costs, the fees will remain (too) high. There is no brake. 

Yvon Bemelman