Chaos reigns over SRM removal

CHAOS REIGNS over the approval of retailers who can remove the back-bone and spinal column from beef cattle of 24-30 months of age, the Speci?ed Risk Material (SRM), says Graham Bidston, National Federation of Meat and Food Traders Association (NFMTA


Some local authorities are pragmatic and giving approval based on long standing knowledge of a particular retailer, others are demanding butchers use different facilities including different coloured knives to remove the vertebral bones. Some are still considering the best way to approve shops.

Graham Bidston, chief executive, has been inundated with calls from butchers frustrated by the lack of coherent understanding of the new rules to be enforced by Environmental Health Of?cers (EHOs). Added to this is the problem of collection of the bones and tissue which are Category One and also have strict rules for its disposal.

Already some wholesalers are bemoaning the fact that beef over 24 months of age has no market because of the lack of understanding of how to authorise retailers to remove the back bone, said Bidston. The Federation has come up with proposals for overcoming the disposal of the stained SRM including putting it into black bags to be sent back to the slaughterer or collected either by the meat wholesaler when it makes the next delivery or by a renderer who has Category One disposal vehicles.

However, renderers are not used to collecting material from shops, said Bidston who believes that the economics of collecting small amounts from many locations presents renderer with a new challenge.