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Audit Report Slams UK over Desinewed Meat

23 August 2012

EU - A report from the EU's Food and Veterinary Office has slammed the UK food safety authorities for breaching the rules over mechanically separated meat, writes Chris Harris.

The report, which followed an audit to evaluate the UK's official food safety control system in place governing the production and placing on the market of mechanically separated meat in March this year, says that the product category of desinewed meat is "non-existent in current EU legislation".

Desinewed meat is a low pressure method of removing scraps of meat from the bone that are left after traditional deboning and butchery methods.

The report concludes that the official controls implemented by the United Kingdom Competent Authorities do not guarantee that the EU requirements applicable to the production of mechanically separated meat are respected.

The creation of a product category, non-existent in current EU legislation, called "desinewed meat", with the backing of the United Kingdom Competent Authorities has led to major nonconformities such as the use of ruminants’ bones for the production of mechanically separated meat, the production of mechanically separated meat without respecting all EU requirements and the placing on the market of products incorporating mechanically separated meat without identifying it on the label.

The report includes a number of recommendations addressed to the United Kingdom Competent Authorities, aimed at rectifying the identified shortcomings and deficiencies identified and enhancing the implementation of the official control system in place.

The recommendations include:

  • In order to avoid risks to public health and comply with the EU requirements the Competent Authorities should take urgent measures to stop the production of MSM from ruminants' bones.
  • The Competent Authorities should ensure that commodity currently denominated "desinewed meat" is fully categorised as MSM in accordance with the definition in point 1.14 of Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 853/2004.
  • In order to comply with EU requirements, the Competent Authorities should ensure that deficiencies found are corrected in the establishments visited and are not present in other approved ones.
  • The Competent Authorities should ensure that EU requirements for the production of MSM are respected (Chapter III (3) and (4) of Section V of Annex III to Regulation (EC) No 853/2004).
  • The Competent Authorities should ensure that when FBO own-check sampling programmes are implemented, the sampling protocols and test methods used are in compliance with EU requirements.
  • The Competent Authorities should ensure that procedures based on HACCP principles maintained by FBOs are fully in compliance with EU requirements.
  • The Competent Authorities should ensure that products containing MSM intended for supply to the end consumer are correctly labelled in accordance with EU requirements (Chapter IV, Section V, Annex III of Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 and Directive 2000/13/EC).

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