Caution on animal feed is welcome

The industry is right to react with caution to the news that the EU is considering relaxing the animal feed ban. While the move might well provide some welcome relief for sectors like the pig industry, we need to bear in mind that there is a big difference between what is legally allowed, and what is publicly accepted. The EU and its scientific experts may well feel that it is acceptable and perfectly safe to allow animal remains to once more enter the food chain in the form of animal feed, but will consumers be quite so willing and understanding? I don't know about you, but somehow, I doubt it. Perhaps more importantly, the tabloid newspapers are unlikely to let it slip through unnoticed. The spectre of BSE and the lurid mad cow headlines hang over this issue like a noxious cloud, regardless of the fact that the EU is only proposing relaxing the ban in relation to pigs and poultry.Consumers, as well as the mainstream media, remain inherently distrustful of the concept of feeding animal remains to other animals. To say it would be an uphill struggle to persuade them otherwise would be something of an understatement. It would take more than the talents of a silver-tongued PR svengali to change that situation. As such, from an industry point of view, there needs to be a very good reason to return to such a policy, and it needs to be one consumers can understand and accept. Until then, the re-introduction of such a feeding policy should remain an academic exercise. l Meanwhile, don't forget to vote for your SuperMeat Industry Personality of the Year winner at []. This year sees an eclectic mix of personalities, all nominated by their peers for the title, and the competition promises to be tough.

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