EU commissioner to push through definition of ‘freshness’

A new EU definition of “fresh” poultrymeat preparations will still go ahead despite concerns that it could be railroaded by member states voting to reject a linked proposal on allowing antimicrobial carcass treatments, such as carcass-rinsing.

Under current EU marketing rules, poultrymeat that has been “super chilled” (frozen), can be thawed and used to make poultry preparations that are sold unfrozen and appear to be fresh, such as raw chicken breast cuts in sauces. If the new rules are accepted, such preparations will only be able to be marketed in a frozen state in future.

The Commission proposal extends the definition, defining a “fresh” poultrymeat preparation as one that has been made only from fresh poultrymeat.

Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel was adamant during a recent England farm visit hosted by 2 Sisters Food Group that she would push through these changes in definitions even if the linked proposal on antimicrobial treatment was rejected in the EC Council this month. This is likely given the opposition in most member states, as it would effectively allow US imports of chlorine-washed chicken to resume.

“This is very welcome confirmation,” said Peter Bradnock, chief executive of British Poultry Council. “The EU poultry industry including BPC has long pressed for these updates in the marketing regulations in the light of technological developments and we support the Commission’s new definitions.”

The Commissioner also acknowledged the need to speed up the EU GM approval process to avert impending serious problems in the supply of feed and food ingredients to the EU.


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