Defra and FSA investigate undeclared blood and offal

A scientific study has found undeclared blood and offal to be mixed into meats, which has sparked a Defra and Food Standards Agency (FSA) study into the issue.

Research undertaken by Nottingham Trent University (NTU) found that out of 57 products tested from 10 retailers, 12% contained undeclared offal and 9% contained undeclared blood, The Grocer reported.

However a spokeswoman for Defra told that this only provides “anecdotal evidence and testing methods have not been validated, but in light of this we have started our own study”.

The FSA and Defra are undertaking their own research into undeclared offal and blood serum in meat products. The results of their research will be published in the summer, according to the Defra spokeswoman: “This is a small pilot study, which mainly focuses on retailers and across the full range of meat products.”

Offal and blood serum in meat does not represent a health issue, but rather a breach of The Food Labelling (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2003, which states if blood and offal are used in meat products it must declared on the labelling.

However, Stephen Rossides, director of the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) expressed concerns over the reliability of testing for blood and offal: “Anything that contains undeclared ingredients is a cause for concern and this is an issue that needs to be investigated properly. However, there are a lot of issues with some of these testing techniques – they are not completely reliable or consistent and different labs have reported different results from the same samples.”

Defra said its testing methods are robust and will provide proper results which local authorities will be able to act upon.

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