UK Gvt would Support Lifting MBM Ban in Some Animal Feed if BSE Concerns are Met

The UK Government has said it would back lifting the meat and bone meal (MBM) ban between poultry and pigs if it could be assured the move would not harm its bid to eradicate BSE in Great Britain.

But the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said there are no plans to relax its current animal feed controls measures at present.

The announcement comes as pressure to relax the present blanket ban on MBM gathers momentum. The EU banned use of MBM in farm animal feed in 2001 largely as part of a bid to stamp out mad cow disease BSE and associated illnesses.

The EU also confirmed recently it has set up a review into whether to allow the protein from pigs to be used in poultry feed and vice versa. The task force examining the issue, including testing methods related to BSE, is due to deliver its findings and recommendations in 2009.

Earlier this month the German Agriculture Minister Horst Seehofer said he would press for the EU wide ban to be relaxed as a bid to cut animal feed costs and counter rising global food prices. He urged EU members to debate the matter again and said his government was hoping to deliver proposals of its own within three months.

A Defra spokeswoman said: “There is currently no specific proposal to relax the current farmed animal feed controls to permit the feeding of proteins from poultry to pigs and vice versa, under consideration.

“We would support the feeding of proteins from poultry to pigs and vice versa, if we were completely satisfied that the necessary control tools were available to ensure that it would not compromise our objective of eradicating BSE in GB.”