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MBM: Producers say yes, but customers need convincing

by 5m Editor
7 June 2007, at 12:54pm

UK - Two supermarkets - Asda and Sainsbury's - have said they will not sell meat from animals fed with meat-and-bonemeal(MBM). However, the issue is moving up the European Commission's agenda and its Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has urged Brussels to fast-track current studies on the issue.

The European Commission's official stance on the re-introduction of non-ruminant mammalian meals is that it may be allowed if the outcome from its current test programme is satisfactory. The programme is due to be completed next year.

However, many pig producers feel the review is long overdue. Speaking to producers at the recent NPA Spring conference: Tomorrow's feed prices...some answer today, the Pig Site was told that MBM was a viable, cost effective ingredient and with increasing pressures on commodity reserves should be an option for ration formulations.

"We fed it for years with no problems at all and pigs do respond well to this type of protein. Pigs are omnivores and like us would naturally seek to eat meat proteins and it could help us reduce feed costs." said one Yorkshire producer.

And re-instating MBM as a feed ingredient may also have implications for waste handling, disposal and the environment as currently most carcase by-products are destined for landfill or incineration and incur considerable costs to industry and the tax payer.

Addressing the conference Angela Booth from leading compounder ABN, said that if predictions for raw material prices were true, then the feed industry would be considering a host of new commodities for feed manufacture, including DDGs - by-products from the bio-fuel industry - to reduce formulation costs.

She sees no reason why non- ruminant MBM should not be considered for pig diets. She said that providing it is fully traceable and of an assured quality and it is not derived from the same species, then there should not be a problem. However, in light of BSE, educating retailers and consumers may not be so simple.

EESC investigations are finding that there is no evidence of risk to humans from feeding MBM from non-ruminants to pigs and poultry. What's more, the committee believes that by-products from healthy animals that have been slaughtered in separate abattoirs should be allowed for use in pig and poultry diets, so long as the proteins are fully traceable. It says this would provide assurance and give consumers a cast-iron guarantee that pigs and poultry fed diets containing meat meal, derived exclusively from unrelated animal by-products, are safe.

5m Editor