Huge missed opportunity for British meat industry, says BMPA
BMPA has stated that the Government’s decision not to apply for BSE Negligible Risk Status will see the British meat industry lose out on millions.
In May, England and Wales reached the milestone of 11 years without a new case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease. According to the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA), this opens up a new £16 million market for the sale of mesenteric fat (used in many industrial applications including cosmetics production) which has not been available for the past 24 years. The milestone also puts the nations in a group of countries and regions around the world that are classified as having ‘negligible’ risk of BSE, including Northern Ireland who are already said to be reaping the benefits.
But Government have told BMPA that applying for the required ‘Negligible Risk Status’ is not on their list of priorities, and they have not got the resources to make the application. This is a huge missed opportunity for the British meat industry, according to BMPA.
The £16 million in extra revenue is approximately equivalent to the total potential value of lamb exports to the US that trade negotiators are said to be fighting hard to secure. Being able to sell mesenteric fat instead of paying to dispose of it would also reduce waste and improve the value of every animal, the meat trade body noted.
In order to achieve ‘negligible risk’ status, Defra must present evidence to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) by 31 July 2020. Missing that deadline will mean evidence cannot be presented until July 2021 – a year wasted at a time when Britain should be taking every chance it can to expand trade in international markets, BMPA stated.
“Just as we’re about to leave the EU we have missed a fantastic opportunity to signal to the global markets our high British standards. BMPA will be working with Government to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” BMPA wrote in a statement.