Skin-on sheep meat gets approval

Meat bodies have welcomed a move by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to seek Ministerial approval to change the law on Skin-on Sheep meat production.

At a FSA Board meeting on Tuesday (26th), an agreement was made to push for a change in the European law on ‘Smokies’ which is currently illegal to produce in the UK.

Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales chief executive Gwyn Howells, said: “This is a step in the right direction towards what could be a huge boost for farmers, processors and retailers in Wales.
“This would be a new product for Welsh producers alongside the premium quality products that consumers around the world already enjoy. Hopefully Ministers will now urge the EU to change the legislation as soon as possible.”

HCC estimate that there is a thriving business for smokies among ethnic communities in the UK and it has been estimated that if the production of smokies was to be legalised it could mean an extra Ł3m to the Welsh red meat industry every year.

Alistair Mackintosh, NFU livestock board chairman, added that the NFU supported the FSA’s action and any law change had the potential to grow markets in the UK and EU for skin-on sheep meat.

“The FSA has taken a very pragmatic and science-based approach to this issue and is looking for solutions to ensure the product can be produced in a way which protects human and animal health.

“Obviously this only represents the first step towards changing the EU rules and we are fully aware of the timescales involved in changing EU legislation. The industry will work with the FSA and any authorised processors who wish to diversify into production of these products as and when the rules change.”