§ Dr. Strang
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many meat hygiene inspectors were employed by his Department and by the Meat Hygiene Service at the most recent date available; and in each year since 1979. 
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg
No meat hygiene inspectors are, or have been, employed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.680W
The Meat Hygiene Service was established as an executive agency of MAFF on 1 April 1995 and took over responsibility from local authorities for meat hygiene and inspection in licensed fresh meat premises.
Staffing matters are the responsibility of the Meat Hygiene Service and I have asked the chief executive, Mr. Johnston McNeill, to reply to the hon. Member direct.
Letter from J. McNeill to Dr. Gavin Strang, dated 5 March 1997:As Chief Executive of the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) your Parliamentary Questions to the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Secretary of State for Scotland concerning the number of Meat Hygiene Inspectors (MHIs) employed by the Meat Hygiene Service at the most recent date available and in each year since 1979 has been passed to me for reply.(18024)The Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) was established as an Executive Agency of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) on 1 April 1995. It took over from some 300 local authorities responsibility for enforcing meat hygiene, inspection and animal welfare at slaughter legislation in licensed fresh meat premises in England, Scotland and Wales. Consequently, I am unable to supply details of staffing numbers prior to the Agency vesting date of 1 April 1995.On a full time equivalent basis, the MHS currently employs 761 MHIs in England and 158 MHIs in Scotland.The MHS employed a total of 803 MHIs as at 1 April 1995 and 850 MHIs as at 1 April 1996. The MHS is unable to provide a territorial breakdown of these previous years figures.