NSA welcomes opportunity for UK to implement new rules on carcase splitting

5th February 2018

After many years of campaigning, the National Sheep Association (NSA) is delighted that a vote in the EU on Friday afternoon has provided much-needed clarity on the current rules around the need to split the carcases and remove the spinal column of some sheep entering the food chain.

The current regulations on TSEs require the splitting of carcases when sheep aged over 12 months are processed. The current system for determining age is to check for the eruption of a permanent incisor, which the NSA considers to be confusing, costly and inaccurate. A better solution would be to use a calendar date as a cut-off and last week’s vote, allowing EU member states the flexibility to take their own position, will allow the UK to make this long overdue change.

Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, says: “This is a long-standing issue for the sheep sector that will never be resolved in isolation. That is why NSA has gone out of its way to work with a number of industry bodies and government agencies over many years to find a solution. Switching to a calendar date is the preferred option and we welcome the opportunity this subtle change in the regulations provides for the sheep sector to move forward.

“Having waited for this kind of breakthrough for some time, NSA looks forward to continuing working in partnership with fellow industry bodies and discussing the new opportunity with Defra and the Food Standards Agency. The sheep sector needs swift action to remove the uncertainty and cost caused by the current rules.”

An NSA report into the need for change on TSE regulations can be found at here.

Notes to editors: -

  • For more information contact Hannah Park, NSA Communications Officer, on 01684 892661 or [email protected].
  • The National Sheep Association is an organisation that represents the views and interests of sheep producers throughout the UK. It is funded by its membership of sheep farmers and its activities involve it in every aspect of the sheep industry. More at www.nationalsheep.org.uk and www.nsanextgeneration.org.uk