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CA decision on Mechanically Separated Meat

The Court of Appeal (Civil Division) has handed down judgment in R (on the application of Newby Foods Ltd) v Food Standards Agency [2017] EWCA Civ 400. It was held that ‘desinewed meat’ should be classified as mechanically separated meat (MSM) as interpreted by the CJEU in Newby Foods Ltd v Food Standards Agency ( C-453/13). The exception set out by the CJEU, namely loss or modification of muscle fibre structure strictly confined to the cutting point, did not apply to the Respondent’s product. The Respondent’s product was called ‘desinewed meat’ and was made by forcing bones bearing chicken and pork meat into contact with each other so that meat was removed by shearing forces. MSM has to be produced under strict hygiene conditions. If the meat was taken at the ‘cutting point’ then it would not be MSM and the stricter regulations did not apply. The converse if it was not. The Court decided that the process involved meat being separated from bones in respect of which the intact muscles had already been detached. This was beyond the cutting point and accordingly it was MSM. The Judge at first instance had applied too wide a definition of ‘cutting point’ and his reading of it undermined the principal objective of Regulation 853/2004 which was to secure a high level of consumer protection for food safety.

Judgment available here: R (Newby Foods) v Food Standards Agency.