EU MINCE REGULATIONSMonday, 24th Mar 2008
The front page headlines of the Easter Monday Daily Record "Get Your Hands Off Our Mince" provokes great anger and concern deep in the bellies of their readership. But fear not, mince as we know it will live on and although the Eurocrats can be called tatties for introducing rules that have no scientific basis, Scotland's butchers will be able to produce mince no matter what they or the Daily Record say.
The legislation at Section V, Chapter III, point 2 ( B ) to Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 states:-
(b) When prepared from chilled meat, minced meat must be prepared:
(i) in the case of poultry, within no more than three days of their slaughter;
(ii) in the case of animal other than poultry, within no more than six days of their slaughter or
(iii) within no more than 15 days from the slaughter of the animals in the case of boned,
vacuum-packed beef and veal.
But the Daily Record failed to read Chapter 1, Article 1, point 3 of Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004:-
This Regulation shall not apply in relation to:
(a) primary production
for private domestic use;
(b) the domestic preparation, handling or storage of food for private domestic consumption;
(c) the direct supply, by the producer, of small quantities of primary products to the final consumer or to local retail establishments directly supplying the final consumer.
The regulation also excludes mince going into meat products like pies, sausages and
burgers. The publicity generated by the Daily Record will however remind the Food Standards Agency and the Eurocrats of the stupidity of this legislation. There are SFMTA members who have problems with this rule, in particular those not supplying the final consumer and SFMTA supports any move that would remove the unnecessary regulation.
As everyone should know, craft butchers mature their beef to guarantee their customers a first class eating experience. While maturing beef makes little difference to minced beef, the maturation process is carried out on the bone. The nearer the hoof and the nearer the horn you get, the tougher the meat.
Hindquarters are hung from the houghs usually for between 14 and 21 days and this meat is normally minced but only after the beef hanging below it - popeseye, rump and sirloin - are matured. There will always be traditionally matured beef destined for the mincer that will be in excess of EU limit of six days.
What the EU fail to understand is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with this procedure since the clever people this side of the English Channel have discovered a process called cooking. Bon Appetit!