FSA formalises EU legalisation request for ‘smokies’

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags European union

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has urged the European Commission to amend EU law to permit the production of ‘smokies’, the common name for smoked skin on sheep carcasses.

Sheep farmers in the UK could benefit from a potentially lucrative market especially for lower-value sheep, such as cull ewes. According to research by Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) the trade could be worth an estimated £3m annually to farmers in Wales alone.

The FSA’s written request comes in the wake of a meeting in January where it was agreed to lobby the EU in order to guard against the illegal, unsanitary ‘smokies’ trade that currently exists in the UK.

Research conducted by the agency and HCC conclude that “it possible to produce such meat safely and hygienically in slaughterhouses.”

Current EU hygiene legislation requires all body parts of the sheep to be skinned, except for the head and feet – effectively making the production of ‘smokies’ illegal.

Any decision, which is likely to take a number of years, will require “strong supporting evidence”​ said the European Commission.

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