Wednesday 25 May 2022

Food watchdog heads for court over ‘pink slime’ meat labelling

Photo: Enricovdc via Wikimedia Commons

Safe food lobby group Foodwatch is taking the government to court in an effort to get what is known as ‘mechanically separated meat’ listed on product labels.

Separated meat, a pink slime or paste-like product, is extracted from beef, pig and chicken carcasses once all the usable flesh has been cut off. It is used in cheaper products like pies and sausages.

Foodwatch claims the product is risky when it comes to food infections, but because it is not included as such on product labels, it is difficult for the food safety board NVWA to intervene.

Nor is there any system for tracing the origins of the processed meat, although this is essential in the rest of the meat food chain.

Foodwatch says there should be complete transparency about the origins of mechanically separated meat (MSM) used in products such as frikandel snacks, citing the horse meat scandal of several years ago.

‘We don’t know what products separated meat is used in, so we cannot check,’ Foodwatch director Nicole van Gemert said. ‘The risk is higher, but the transparency is lower and that is not the way it should be. We are simply waiting for the next food scandal.’

The case will be heard on June 9.

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