Consumers say No to PAP

Most consumers oppose the idea of allowing processed animal protein (PAP) back into chicken and pig feed, according to new research by the Food Standards Agency.

The EU is currently considering reintroducing PAP for the first time since 2001, though only for non-ruminants and with strict controls to guarantee there is no intra-species recycling.

To guage consumer reaction, the FSA commissioned qualitative research with 80 people in Cardiff, Aberdeen, Belfast and Banbury, divided into eight focus groups.

“After receiving detailed information about the proposals, six out of the eight focus groups involved supported a continuation of the ban, with one group ‘neutral’ and the other ‘for’ relaxing the ban,” said a statement.

The main reasons for opposing any relaxation were concerns about health risks, a lack of scientific knowledge about how diseases like BSE spread and concern about whether there were any benefits to the consumer.

“While respondents discussed the potential economic and environmental benefits of the proposals, such as less wastage of meat by-products and a reduction in carbon emissions from importing soya – currently used as an alternative for PAP – they felt that relaxing the ban would be a backwards step.”

A total ban on the use of mammalian meat and bone meal was introduced in the UK in 1996, after a link was discovered between Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease (vCJD). This was followed by an EU-wide ban in 2001.

The FSA’s research endorses research conducted by the Royal Agricultural Society of England, presented at the Pig and Poultry LIVE event in May, which showed that, while consumers were willing to accept GM in animal feed, they were philosophically opposed to PAP.