Northallerton meat processor Newby Foods has vowed to rebuild its business after winning a four-year court battle with the FSA over the classification of its meat products.
The company first launched its case in 2012, when the FSA issued a moratorium banning UK processors from producing disenewed meat (DSM) from ruminant bones and forcing them to reclassify DSM from poultry and pig bones as mechanically separated meat (MSM) – a much less valuable product.
Newby argued its method of removing meat from pig and poultry bones resulted in a product that was still recognisable as meat, and should not be classified as MSM.
The High Court last week ruled in Newby’s favour, finding the company’s non-ruminant products were not MSM, and could therefore count towards meat content.
In the ruling, Mr Justice Edwards Stuart said the FSA’s moratorium on desinewed meat from poultry and pig bones by Newby’s process was “wrong since it was based on an error of law”.
He claimed the judgement built on an earlier ruling by the European Court of Justice, stressing it was down to the national court to find the facts of an individual case.
Newby Foods MD Graham Bishop said the company was “delighted” with the High Court decision, and determined to recover the business it has lost since the moratorium was introduced in 2012.
“Obviously we have seen the business go down in terms of some lost business, some customers have stayed loyal with us and others haven’t. We are hoping this marks a return to where we were,” he said.
Bishop stressed Newby’s argument was “never with the FSA”, which had supported its production method before coming under pressure from the EC to change the rules on DSM.
He claimed the ruling meant less meat would go to waste in the UK, with huge environmental benefits.
“It would have been a terrible waste of a material that at the end of the day is a quality material. We are educated not to waste food in our homes so lets not waste it at the cutting plants either. “
The High Court ruling applies specifically to Newby Foods’ process, and doesn’t change the rules for other businesses that produce DSM, but it was welcomed by the The British Meat Processors Association.
“I am delighted to hear this landmark ruling which recognises the full value of the technological advances that Newby Foods have made in order to produce meat products that should rightly count towards the meat content of food products,” said BMPA chairman Peter Mitchell.
“This opens the way to opportunities to make full use of this meat and reduce food waste which is clearly a benefit to both the industry and wider society.”