The Food Standards Agency is to seek ministerial approval for the production of skin-on sheepmeat or “Smokies”.
The recommendation from the FSA is a massive step forward in the process of legalising this form of sheepmeat which, with its distinctive formula, is a favourite among some ethnic communities, explained National Sheep Association chief executive Peter Morris. Market research has shown a legal trade in smokies could contribute £3m to the rural economy.
“At last progress is being made. There have been exhaustive tests carried out to ensure that legalising the smoking process does not place any risk to human health.
“The next step is ministerial clearance and agreeing a way forward within the UK and possibly within Europe that ensures the legalisation process is both swift and effective.”
NSA Wales chairwoman Margaret Dalton has led the battle to have smokies legalised and said the demand for the product was strong among some ethnic communities.
But the demand had led to illegal production in the past.
“If the product is [approved] then, hopefully, this illegal trade will disappear and the integrity and safety of the product will improve.”
Smokies are produced by scorching the skin and fleece of a sheep carcass. The carcass is then cleaned to remove the scorched wool.