FSA asks Europe to legalise smokies

The Food Standards Agency has written to the European Commission seeking a change in the law to permit production of smokies.

Smokies are smoked “skin-on” sheep carcasses which are eaten by some minority ethnic communities in the UK.

They have been banned from being produced legally in the EU because hygiene legislation requires all parts of the body of a sheep intended for human consumption (except the head and feet) to be skinned.

But the FSA board agreed in January 2010 that it would push for a change in the law if ministers gave their support.

Investigations by the agency and representatives of the UK meat industry have shown that it is possible to produce such meat safely and hygienically in slaughterhouses.

This could give sheep farmers access to a new and potentially lucrative market, especially for lower-value sheep, such as cull ewes.

The European Commission has indicated that EU hygiene legislation could, with strong supporting evidence, be amended to allow smokies to be produced legally.

However, the process of legalising the production of smokies is likely to take a number of years.

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