Meat processors urge ‘inflexible’ EC to delay second phase of DSM ruling

By Mark Astley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union

The European Commission (EC) ruling will bring the UK in line with European Union (EU) single market legislation.
The European Commission (EC) ruling will bring the UK in line with European Union (EU) single market legislation.
The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued guidance on and executed the first stage of its moratorium on the production and use of desinewed meat (DSM) – much to the disapproval of the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA).

The BMPA has called on the “inflexible”​ European Commission (EC) to extend the deadline of the second stage of the moratorium, which is due at the end of May.

Guidance on the moratorium on the production and use of desinewed meat from ruminant bones in the United Kingdom​, which was published by the FSA, replaces 2010-issued direction on the production of desinewed meat.

The first stage of the EC-imposed moratorium, which began on 28 April 2012, prohibits the UK production and use of ruminant (cattle, sheep and goat) DSM, which is manufactured using a low pressure technique to remove meat from animal bones.

It may still be produced from poultry and pig bones, but from 26 May 2012 it must be specifically labelled as mechanically separated meat (MSM) and can no longer count towards the meat content of a product.

BMPA director Stephen Rossides told that although the time had passed to delay stage one, it hoped the Commission would consider extending the deadline for stage two.

Commission “inflexible”

“There will be no change on that. The Commission is not flexible on desinewed meat from cattle, sheep and goats. But we do need more time for the second phase of the decision,”​ said Rossides.

“Everyone in the British meat industry was taken aback by the decision, the tight deadline and the short notice. Our position hasn’t changed, we still contest the decision. That is unchanged.”

“We are in discussion with the European Commission because the FSA also disputes that this product is mechanically separated meat (MSM). It is just meat.”

Under stage one of the moratorium, the production, incorporation and distribution of DSM from cattle, sheep and goat bones was ordered to end before 12.01am on 28 April 2012.

From there on, any unused DSM from ruminant bones will be categorised as an animal by-product and should be disposed as such.

“The Commission is inflexible; we have reached the end of the road on that front.”

“It is a well-established practice in the UK, but the Commission has threatened serious consequences – the industry had to concede,” ​Rossides said.

Scarce amount of meat

Earlier this month, McWhinney’s Sausages CEO Kevin McWhinney called the apparent industry implications of the EC ruling “nonsense.”

According to McWhinney, reformulation as a result of the moratorium shouldn’t be a problem for the industry as it would be replacing what it calls meat, with meat.

“He is talking rubbish, most don’t agree,” ​added Rossides. “The industry is going to be chasing an already scare amount of meat. This has very important implications – there is even one of our members that could go out of business.”

“He has obviously not considered the consequences. I think he is talking rubbish, but that is his opinion and he is fully entitled to it.”

“Each company has a different place in the market, whether it is high end, high meat content products or otherwise. He has a narrow view,” ​concluded Rossides.

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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