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Meat: EU Law

Health written question – answered on 25th February 2013.

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Photo of Margaret Ritchie Margaret Ritchie Shadow SDLP Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow SDLP Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effect of the ban on desinewed meat on the (a) food chain and (b) contamination of beef products.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The United Kingdom moratorium on the production and use of desinewed meat (DSM) implemented in spring 2012 prohibits the production of DSM obtained from ruminant bones (cattle, sheep and goats) or ruminant bone-in cuts and requires DSM obtained from non-ruminant bones (poultry and pigs) to be treated in all respects as mechanically separated meat (MSM) and labelled as such.

In order to comply with the moratorium, food businesses using ruminant DSM in their products will have needed to reformulate their products with alternative raw material or cease manufacture. Food businesses using non-ruminant DSM will have needed to change the consumer labelling of their products to reflect that they contain MSM, reformulate their products with alternative raw material or cease manufacture.

Investigations into the contamination of beef products with horsemeat are ongoing. But, regardless of any financial pressures that may have arisen from the moratorium, food businesses are required to ensure that products are produced legally, safe to eat and labelled accurately.

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