Meat industry missing £16m in sales over BSE status

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

The UK meat industry could be missing out on a £16m market, according to the BMPA
The UK meat industry could be missing out on a £16m market, according to the BMPA

Related tags: Meat & Seafood

The meat industry could miss out on £16m in sales if the Government fails to apply for negligible risk status (NRS), according to the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA).

Registering for NRS would open up a new £16m market for the sale of mesenteric fat, which has not been available to the UK for 24 years. The UK is now eligible for this status, after England and Wales reached the milestone of 11 years without a case of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

However, the Government has told the BMPA that it has no plans to register for NRS, citing it did not have the resources to pursue the application.

Time running out

In order to achieve NRS, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs must present evidence to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) by 31 July this year, so they can agree the UK’s new status at their General Session in May 2021. If that deadline is missed, the next chance to present evidence would be next July, with status eventually being granted in May 2022.

In a statement regarding the Government’s decision, the BMPA said: “We know that the epidemiologists and other resources needed to compile and submit this evidence have all been diverted to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, but the 11-year milestone of being BSE-free has not come out of the blue.

“Really, work should have been well under way back in December last year before the current crisis hit and we should have been ready in May to submit our application to the OIE.”

Lamb sales to the US

According to the BMPA, the £16m of extra revenue is roughly equivalent to the total potential value of lamb exports to the US. Being able to sell mesenteric fat instead of paying to dispose of it would help reduce waste.

“Just as we’re about to leave the EU we have missed a fantastic opportunity to signal to the global markets our high British standards,”​ the spokesman added. “BMPA will be working with Government to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Meanwhile, beef sales thrived despite the coronavirus pandemic in Great Britain​ (GB), but lamb has fared less well, according to meat bodies in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Related topics: Meat, poultry & seafood, Operations

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1 comment

NR Status

Posted by Jeremy Townsend,

Scotland achieved this status in 2017,(they have since lost it again,1 case of BSE ! )
England should have had NR status from 2019,this would have a large impact on the trade,not just for mesenteric fat but also for other by-products which are currently designated as SRM. It should also lead to the lifting of the Moratorium on the production of DSM from ruminant bones which was introduced in April 2012. Hopefully our learned friends at the FSA might help !

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