An EFSA report on the issue of mechanically separated meat (MSM) has delivered potentially positive news for the processed meat industry.

MSM from ruminants has not been allowed in the EU since the BSE crisis. The UK believes desinewing - which uses less pressure than MSM - is not the same as mechanical separation, and in the past let British processors use it.

However, it imposed a moratorium on desinewed meat last year after the EC made clear it disagreed with the UK’s interpretation.

In its report, EFSA said it recognised there was a difference between high-pressure and low-pressure production of MSM, and - if further research were conducted - methods could be developed for differentiating between the types.

“This is positive because if a method can be developed to differentiate between high and low-pressure MSM, they might be in a position to recommend low-pressure MSM be permitted,” said Eblex head of trade development Peter Hardwick. “It’s down to the Commission to decide, but this is a constructive starting point.”

The report focuses on poultry and pig MSM, not ruminants.