Consultation on 'Minimum Meat Content' in Meat Products

Following our recent piece on the forthcoming EU legislation regulating meat products. Defra is now consulting on the minimum meat content in products such as pies, burgers and sausages. The current regulations in force in England and Wales will need to conform with the new EU Food Information to Consumers Regulations (the 'Regulations'), which are due to come into effect on 13 December 2014.

Since the 'horsemeat scandal' there has been renewed emphasis on the need to restore consumer confidence in the meat industry and further guarantee the quality and integrity of meat products. 

The Regulations aim:

  • to ensure ingredients in meat products meet a certain criteria;
  • maintain the prohibition of certain parts of carcass being used in uncooked meat products;
  • generally deregulate and remove 'red tape'; and
  • simplify enforcement measures.

Regulations that govern meat products are already in place in England and Wales. Defra is keen to ensure that specific national standards are maintained in the transition to the new Regulations. The government's preferred approach, in line with its agenda to cut 'red tape', is to implement the Regulations whilst retaining current criteria governing minimum meat content.

Defra is encouraging contributions from business and consumer groups, enforcement authorities and members of the general public. The consultation will close on 6 March 2014, so stakeholders need to contribute now to make sure their views are heard on issues crucial to the food industry. All products placed on the market on or after 13 December 2014 will need to comply with the Regulations. Businesses must be fully aware of the implications and may wish to seek advice prior to this implementation date.

For more information, please contact David Thompson, Head of Food and Drink, Michelmores LLP on 01392 687656 or at david.thompson@michelmores.com