FSA launches consultation into mechanically separated meat

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

The FSA has launched a consultation in guidance for mechanically separated meat
The FSA has launched a consultation in guidance for mechanically separated meat

Related tags Regulation

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has launched a public consultation seeking views on new guidance for food businesses on the definition of mechanically separated meat (MSM).

This consultation follows a series of court judgements on the definition of MSM that will have implications for its productions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The rulings provide clarity on what MSM is, how that definition is interpreted by food business and how they should apply it to they’re products.

MSM in the UK will now have three criteria for its classification: the use of bones from which the intact muscles have already been detached (or of poultry carcases, to which meat remains attached); the use of methods of mechanical separation to recover that meat; and the loss or modification of the muscle fibre structure of the recovered meat. 

Impact on businesses

Rebecca Sudworth, director of policy at the FSA, said: “We understand that this ruling will impact businesses, so it is right that we seek views from consumers and industry, on the guidance to maximise its effectiveness.

“We’re doing this to ensure that businesses have extensive opportunities to feed in. It is the responsibility of food businesses to ensure they comply with food law, and the FSA has made a commitment to develop new guidance on MSM to aid understanding following the court judgments.

“We’ll publish the outcome of the consultation, the impact assessment and the next steps to ensure that businesses and consumers are aware of the developments.”

Effectiveness of guidance

The consultation will ask respondents to consider the effectiveness of the MSM guidance document​ in providing support in light of the court judgements, the impacts of food businesses adapting their technologies in line with the judgements and whether there are wider issues around MSM that the FSA or wider government should be seeking to address.

Food businesses using mechanical meat separation equipment and those using MSM as an ingredient, food law enforcement officer, meat industry trade bodies and consumers are all invited to contribute towards the consultation.

Responses are required by close 22 May 2024. Respondents are asked to state in their response whether they are responding as a private individual or on behalf of an organisation/company, including details of any stakeholders their organisation represents.

Meanwhile, in her first column of 2024, Food Forensics’ Alison Johnson looks at the legal intricacies of what makes a sausage a sausage.

Related topics Meat, poultry & seafood Technical

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