16 March 2001

Pithing ban soon

THE government is introducing a new anti-BSE measure which campaigners claim will drive many small abattoirs out of business.

A ban on pithing – the practice of inserting a wire rod into an animals head after stunning to prevent it from kicking out – will come into force from Apr 1, said the Food Standards Agency.

But meat from animals pithed after Apr 1 will not be classified as Specified Risk Material (SRM) until July 1, said an FSA spokesman.

"In the case of those who have difficulty in meeting the requirement we will not be so rigid to specify the meat as SRM material."