DSM ban a major factor in horsemeat scandal, claims former FSA man

A former Food Standards Agency (FSA) scientist has claimed that the UK’s reclassification of desinewed meat (DSM) was a driving factor behind the horsemeat contamination scandal.

Dr Mark Woolfe, former head of authenticity at the FSA, told reporters that the decision to reclassify DSM as mechanically-seperated meat (MSM) meant processors could no longer use the ingredient as part of the meat content in value products. This forced processors to source cheap mince from outside of the UK with only a couple of days’ notice.

“The FSA, bullied by the European Commission, issued a moratorium on DSM which was a perfectly good ingredient for value products,” said Dr Woolfe. “Manufacturers who were using it for value products had to leave the UK food chain and go and look at overseas suppliers at a price similar to DSM and this is where I think things started to go wrong.”

Dr Woolfe said he believed the change in legislation played a “large part” in the horsemeat scandal, pointing out that by sourcing their meat from abroad, processors extended their supply chains and were forced to rely on “documentation alone”.

“In principle, there should not be anything wrong with a company going abroad for meat, as the EU has the same rules,” said Woolfe. “But in practice, the longer and more complex the supply chain, the more difficult it is to control.”

Pointing out that processors of lamb products used to rely heavily on desinewed lamb, Dr Woolfe suggested that lamb products might also need to be tested for horsemeat.


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