Bone-scrap ruling may affect returns to farmers

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FARMERS could be hit by a ban on a method of taking scraps of meat off bones, which will apply in the UK while the rest of Europe is investigated.

It will mean lower returns per carcase and the meat industry is furious at a Food Standards Agency attempt saying it was a “very small” issue.

Norman Bagley, for the Association of Independent Meat Processors, said: “It is an important part of getting the best possible return from a very complex food chain. The European Commission has singled the UK out and the FSA’s response has put us at a competitive disadvantage. The FSA has promised there will be ultimately be a level playing field but we are not convinced.”

The row involves stripping of meaty bones, using jets of water.

The British Meat Processing Association said the Government-sanctioned decision had “enormous implications” but the FSA said that failure to comply with the Commission’s ruling “would risk a ban on the export of UK meat products.”

EC officials said they were closing a loophole which had been discovered first in the UK.

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