Carcass splitting costs more than £23m a year

Lamb carcass splitting is costing producers in Great Britain between £23 million and £34 million a year, according to economic analysis carried out by the NFU and AHDB Red Meat Market Intelligence.

The analysis of the estimated cost to the industry was conducted in response to the NFU’s concerns about the financial implications of sheep TSE regulations, which require the removal of the spinal cord in all sheep aged more than 12 months, and the effect the regulations are having on the competitiveness of the sector in the UK.

NFU livestock board chairman Alistair Mackintosh said the cost was “unacceptable”.

“We strongly believe that this regulation is no longer based on sound science and is costing the industry millions of pounds a year. The UK government and the FSA need to look at this again and work with us to amend the rules so they are based on risk and proportionality,” he said.

Specified Risk Material (SRM) controls for sheep have been in place in the UK since 1996.

Splitting in two lengthways devalues the carcass, as it cannot be hung to mature and the product has a very limited market. BSE has never been found in the UK sheep flock.