October 7, 2011
UK government responsive to return of pig and poultry protein
UK Farming Minister Jim Paice is open to explore a return to pig and poultry protein (PAP) in animal feed despite Food Standards Agency's (FSA) advice to maintain the current ban.
The European Commission is proposing that poultry-based protein could be fed to pigs and pig-based protein to poultry in a partial relaxation of the feed ban that has been in place as BSE control since the 1990s.
The FSA recently advised Defra, after the issue was discussed at a public meeting, to reject the proposals.
The agency's board accepted that the risk to consumers was 'negligible' but said it was 'concerned' that this relied on the controls being effectively enforced and believed a 'highly precautionary approach' to TSE diseases continues to be justified.
Speaking at the NFU fringe meeting, Mr Paice insisted the Government has not yet made its decision.
"The FSA have discussed it in public and we have their report. We also have reports from various other organisations with all sorts of specialist knowledge and we have yet to make a judgement.
"But I can assure you that judgement will be based on science and whether there is a demonstrable need to make a change like that.''
NFU president Peter Kendall suggested that the FSA's decision was based on public opinion rather than science.
"I wonder if that is the right way to be making such important decisions. Are we looking at the science of food safety or at public acceptability?" he said.