Scottish butchers are battling to persuade the European Commission to accept microbiological testing rather than meat age post slaughter as a guide for mince production.

The European Livestock and Meat Trading Union (UECBV) is currently lobbying Brussels on their behalf against the EU ruling which puts Scotland's traditional meal of mince and tatties under threat.

Scottish butchers have made mince from beef hung for up to three weeks for generations. But now the European Commission has ruled that the product can only be made from beef within six days of an animal being slaughtered, for hygiene reasons.

Douglas Scott, chief executive of the Scottish Federation of Meat Traders Association, wrote to the Food Standards Agency in June about his members concerns and urged it to seek a review of the requirement. He is still waiting to hear from the FSA, he said.

Alistair Donaldson, executive director of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers, said: "There are microbiological standards for mince and, if these tests are producing mince to a satisfactory standard, then the age of the meat should not have a bearing."

He added that the UECBV would seek to have the measure revised so all member states are on the same footing on mince production. If this was unsuccessful, the UK would seek a derogation for national consumption with agreement from Brussels. A spokesperson for the FSA said its Meat Hygiene Forum would be open to discussion on the matter.