Mince summit to be held next week

The British Meat Processors Association has invited key organisations in the meat industry to a mince summit next week to discuss the current problems being caused by European law.

The British Meat Processors Association has invited key organisations in the meat industry to a mince summit next week to discuss the current problems being caused by European legislation.

The BMPA believes that the European rules appear to be designed with a continental vision of mince in mind and have the potential to seriously damage a significant proportion of the meat industry.

It added that legislation was not based on science and does not take account of the high standards of hygiene employed in the UK. "The time limits as set out in the legislation are too restrictive and would mean that perfectly good meat falling just one day beyond the limits could not be used. There needs to be a clear distinction between mince to be eaten raw and mince to be eaten cooked," it said in a press statement.

In calling on organisations to attend the summit Stuart Roberts, director of the BMPA, said: "This issue is of key importance to the meat industry and it is vital that the industry itself takes ownership of a problem which the authorities have not been able to deal with"

Ian Anderson, executive manager of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers said: "It is vital that the legislation is based on science and not simple time limits, which do not respect the national differences in how mince has been prepared and consumed across Europe for many decades. The legislation should be flexible enough to enable traditional production of mince in the UK to continue and not to threaten its future. This is not an issue which lends itself to a "one size fits all" solution".

The mince summit will be held in London on 3 April.

The mince story has received widespread coverage in the mainstream media, particularly in Scotland, with papers like the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Daily Record and the Scotsman, reacting angrily to what is seen as further EU meddling.

Scottish politicians have also got behind the issue. Alyn Smith, an SNP MEP, has vowed take the case up with Brussels. He said: "This mince can be defeated. Scots will be eating traditional mince well into the future. I will be taking the case to Brussels to argue for Scottish mince to be left alone.

Smith pointed the finger of blame at the Food Standards Agency (FSA): "This just goes to show what happens when you let a UK organisation do the talking for Scotland. It is disappointing that the UK FSA seems to have thrown in the towel.

"Protecting people who eat steak tartare is fine, but this should not affect our mince and tatties," he added.

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