The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) and the British Poultry Council (BPC) are calling for more concerted action following an MP’s report describing the EU’s action as “heavy-handed and disproportionate”.
The report from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) committee, published on July 24, found “serious flaws” in the government’s response to the ban on UK desinewed meat imposed by Brussels.
They called on the UK government to make “every possible effort” to reverse the EC’s decision, which will have serious impacts on the UK’s food industry and for consumers.
“Our producers have been badly let down by both the EC and the UK government,” said Anne McIntosh MP, EFRA committee chair. “The Commission’s actions are irrational and wrong. The government was caught unawares and has so far failed to protect UK producers.”
£100M cost to poultry industry
The report has been warmly welcomed by the British Poultry Council (BPC), which claimed the misguided decision by the EC to reclassify this product threatened to cost British poultry companies up to £100M.
BPC chairman John Reed said: “This situation shows that poultry production is vulnerable to knee-jerk reactions made by the EC, and we need a strong UK government presence to defend British businesses from this sort of ill-timed decision.”
He added: “It’s good that the EFRA Select Committee has shone a light on this issue. Now we have to ensure that all the other European countries are being treated the same way as the UK, otherwise British companies are going to lose out once again.”
The BMPA is particularly critical of the confusion between government departments in handling this issue.
BMPA director Stephen Rossides said: “The Committee’s report is spot on both in identifying the key issues surrounding the moratorium debacle, and in its recommendations about the lessons to be learned and the steps that need to be taken.”
Rossides added: “We welcome the Committee’s statement that the government must seek support from other EU Member States for the UK position, and press the Commission to lift the moratorium.
In April the EC mandated that the UK impose a moratorium on the production of desinewed meat (DSM) from cows and sheep from the end of April. The ruling also said DSM produced from pigs and poultry had to be reclassified as mechanically separated meat (MSM) from May 26.