UK Meat Production Ban must end

21 November 2013

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Chair Anne McIntosh today called on the Government to speed up action to lift a ban on UK meat production.

UK firms have not been allowed since April 2012 to produce desinewed beef and lamb, which is similar to minced meat, because of a legal disagreement between Defra and the European Commission.

Miss McIntosh said:

"This supposedly temporary ban has been in place for 18 months with no prospect of it being lifted urgently.  British producers have been left in legal limbo with jobs lost, meat wasted and prices pushed up as a result of the ban.

We need much more urgency from the Government in ending this unnecessary moratorium that they themselves do not think right."

Secretary of State for the Environment Owen Paterson MP has confirmed to the Committee that the UK Government also considers the ban "temporary", and  does "not agree with the EU interpretation of legislation" on desinewed meat.

Mr Paterson added: "there is no evidence of an increased risk to human health from eating meat produced from the DSM production process."

Mr Paterson, however, ruled out any link between the moratorium on desinewed meat and last year’s outbreak of horsemeat contamination in beef burgers and other food products. "There is currently no evidence to suggest a link between the moratorium on DSM and the horsemeat fraud," he wrote, adding that "investigations carried out across Europe suggest that horsemeat fraud stems back some time before the ending of DSM production in the UK."

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