The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is taking the next steps in its attempt to get the production of ‘smokies’, smoked skin-on sheep meat, legalised.

The FSA wrote to the European Commission back in 2010 to request that the law be changed in Europe to permit the production of smokies, after their investigations showed that hygienic production of the meat was possible.

The request was turned down by the Commission on the advice of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), who did not accept the findings.

Smokies are banned from being produced in the EU because hygiene legislation requires all parts of the body of sheep intended for human consumption, except the head and feet, to be skinned.

In smokies production, the skin and often the wool is left on the carcass which is then burned in one piece. This raises the risks of transmission of scrapie and induction of E. coli or Salmonella into the meat.

The FSA has now written to the EFSA ask for clarification on the body’s scientific opinion.

Smokies are eaten by some minority ethnic communities in the UK and the FSA believes that the hygienic production of the meat could enable sheep farmers in the UK to diversify into a new potentially lucrative market.

The EU is expected to respond to the FSA’s request for clarification in October 2012.

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Alison Konieczny on G+