Feeling queasy after seeing that picture on our cover? It's the kind of image many consumers will have in mind when they hear meat and bone meal (MBM) could be used to feed animals again.

The EC is right to focus on scientific evidence rather than popular opinion, but the strength of consumer feeling means retailers and producers will think twice before allowing MBM into their supply chains again.

The trouble is, the alternatives aren't altogether palatable either. The current solution soya cannot be matched for nutrient profile and cost efficiency. But it's shipped from Brazil.

That means the sustainability argument which sees MBM as a greener, less wasteful alternative to imported soya will become increasingly difficult to ignore. And the picture becomes more complex when you consider the possibility that the soya is GM. And what about imposing a vegetarian diet on omnivores? It's hardly fair on those pigs and chickens.

As food ethics move up the agenda, the MBM debate is a timely reminder that making 'right' choices about food can be a complex business.

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