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Call for review of ban on use of animal remains in feed

Published on 8 June, 2007, Last updated at 00:36 GMT

A review on animal remains in farm feed is being called for by the European Union's advisory Economic and Social Committee.

Introduced throughout Europe as part of the EU's preventative measures against the spread of BSE, the ban has been in place since 2000.

There is currently a research project underway funded by the EU and worth over 1.15million pounds, to reassess the impact of meat and bonemeal in animal feed.

Scientists are examining whether the use of pig and chicken carcases in feed can be resumed without posing a threat to human health; in particular feeding pig meat to chickens and chicken meat to pigs.

However, the European Commission is keen to stress that the research is not a precursor to lifting or easing the ban on the use of animal proteins in livestock feeds.

The first proposal to carry out research on animal feed ban was introduced in the EU's long-term anti-BSE strategy, published nearly two years ago.

The Economic and Social Committee is now recommending accelerating the reintroduction of animal remains in farm feed.

Following a meeting it urged the EU to speed up studies that "clearly show that the use of meat meal from non-ruminants can be used in pig and poultry feed without posing any danger to human health'.


The committee, which holds no legislative power and is made up of representatives of employers' groups, trades unions and consumer organisations, has been prompted to act following concerns from farmers, who believe the ban is attributing to inflating vegetable protein feed prices.

An NFU spokesman said: "There is nothing inherently wrong in meat and bone meal (MBM) being recycled in pig and poultry feed. The reason for the ban is the risk of cross contamination or the unwitting use of pig and poultry feed to cattle.

"However, livestock and poultry farmers have to be acutely aware of consumer sensitivities on this issue, and no change to the current rules should even be considered unless, and until, it can be demonstrated that it would represent no risk to either animal or human health."

Several of the major supermarkets, including Asda and Sainsbury's have already ruled out selling meat from animals fed meat and bonemeal on the grounds of consumer confidence and possible health risks.

A spokesperson for Asda said: "There are other ways to feed animals. We don't need to go back to the old system. I don't think our customers would want that either."


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