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ISSUE 38/13: 19 September 2013 BMPA AND UK ISSUES 1. National Animal Database 2. Mislabelling of Red Tractor Pork 3. Pork Sausages and Hepatitis E 4. Health and Safety Guidance EU AND WIDER ISSUES 5. Origin
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ISSUE 38/13: 19 September 2013 BMPA AND UK ISSUES 1. National Animal Database 2. Mislabelling of Red Tractor Pork 3. Pork Sausages and Hepatitis E 4. Health and Safety Guidance EU AND WIDER ISSUES 5. Origin Labelling of Fresh Meat Draft Commission Proposals 6. TSE Controls 7. Horsemeat Investigations 8. EU Beef and Pork Production in 2014/15 9. FOSS Conference on Innovation in the Meat Industry, 7-8 October, Hillerod, Denmark BMPA AND UK ISSUES 1. National Animal Database Earlier this week, I attended an all-industry meeting hosted by AHDB to discuss whether the industry should progress the concept of a national animal database, in the first instance in relation to cattle, and, if so, to identify its attributes. As background information, there were interesting presentations on the animal health database in Ireland, the pig movement database operated by BPEX, and Royal Veterinary College work on cattle health databases. There was a general consensus in favour of a national database, provided that its primary purpose was to serve the industry s needs. The meeting also recognised that a very wide range of data already exists whose potential value is probably not fully exploited, and it was accepted that in some instances data would need to be cleansed and verified to avoid using inaccurate or conflicting information. What the meeting was less certain of was whether the aim should be a single central database or a system based on linking already existing, but separate, databases by ensuring that they can all communicate effectively with each other. AHDB will consider the various views expressed at the meeting, and set up a group to progress matters. 2. Mislabelling of Red Tractor Pork You may well have followed the story that broke earlier this week about a randomly selected pack of Tesco pork chops labelled as British that was isotope-tested to reveal that the product was almost certainly not British. It seems that this was an isolated instance of unintentional mislabelling, most likely due to human error, and certainly not fraud. Coming at the start of Red Tractor Week, this was an unfortunate incident, and reinforces the need for vigilance in raw material selection, packing and labelling. Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this newsletter. We cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions 3. Pork Sausages and Hepatitis E Earlier this week, some newspapers reported on a research paper published on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, which suggested a link between consumption of pork sausages and hepatitis E in the UK. The article acknowledged that the number of samples taken was small and that the results should be taken as indicators only. The paper can be seen here: As with other similar meat-related diet and public health reports and media stories, we tend to draw on the expertise of the independent Meat Advisory Panel (MAP) to guide us. I attach a reserve statement prepared by MAP. This is a fairly bland statement and intended to be used reactively, since the aim is to avoid being drawn into an unhelpful debate with the media on hepatitis E. Both Defra and the FSA have indicated that the reasons why there is an increase in the incidence of hepatitis E are not well understood, and that more investigations need to be carried out. I also attach a briefing from BPEX on hepatitis E. This is intended as a background information note for industry, rather than as a media statement. 4. Health and Safety Guidance A number of changes have been made to the meat industry Health and Safety Guidance, which sits on the BMPA website. The dates of any updated items are shown in red in the contents list. EU AND WIDER ISSUES 5. Origin Labelling of Fresh Meat Draft Commission Proposals I attach a Commission working document outlining draft proposals on mandatory origin labelling of fresh pigmeat, sheepmeat and poultry meat. I must stress that the document has yet to be finalised and could be amended. This document does not propose following the beef model. Instead, the main elements of the proposal are as follows: A single approach for pigmeat, sheepmeat and poultrymeat Labelling of the last member state or third country of rearing (at least 2 months for pigs and sheep, one month for poultry) ie reared in [ name of member state or third country] Member state or third country of slaughter ie slaughtered in [name of member state or third country] Where rearing and slaughter take place in the same country, origin can be declared as reared and slaughtered in Where several cuts of meat are included in the same pack from animals reared and slaughtered in a variety of member states or third countries, a list of these countries would have to be provided. From meat imported into the EU where not all information is provided, the document proposes the following indications: reared in: non-eu, slaughtered in: [name of third country] Following lobbying from UECBV, for minced meat and trimmings, the document provides for simple EU / non-eu origin declaration to be given. The document will be discussed in the management committee for livestock products on 19 September and 17 October. There will be an exchange of views in SCoFCAH on 2 October and a vote in SCoFCAH on 5 November, for adoption by the Commission during December. In response to UK media reports that the Commission s labelling proposals would prevent the use of national flags on labels, the Commission has stated that this is not the case; national flags would be able to be used. Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this newsletter. We cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions 6. TSE Controls Eight EU member states are officially classified as having negligible BSE risk status (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Slovenia, Finland and Sweden), and more countries will achieve this before long. This has prompted a debate within the EU about the possibility of amending or even lifting SRM requirements for these countries. To date, the Commission has been hesitant about taking such a step. The issue was discussed in SCOFCAH earlier this week, where most member states indicated that they are against such a move, while some want an EFSA opinion on the matter. Regarding the EFSA opinion on a quantitative evaluation of BSE risk in bovine intestines and mesentery, this is expected to be available by 1 March Horsemeat Investigations French police have made eight arrests as part of their continuing horsemeat investigations. Those arrested are linked to the Spanghero company, which was implicated in the mislabelling episode. Two people have been arrested in the UK in relation to the horsemeat incidents; their identities or company links have not been released. 8. EU Beef and Pork Production in 2014/15 For information, I am including below an Agra Europe article based on forecasts of beef and pork supplies from the USDA s Foreign Agricultural Service. After recent production cuts, EU beef output is expected to rebound in 2014, while a turnaround in the pigmeat sector could take hold the following year. The recovery is however restricted to a minority of EU member states, and exportable supplies are expected to be limited. Beef Production New forecasts from the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) peg beef production in the EU28 at 7.76 million tonnes (carcase weight) in 2014, up from an expected 7.69mt this year. EU cattle numbers have been expanding since 2012 thanks to a recovery of the cow herd, relatively low slaughter of animals and reduced exports to third countries. During the first half of 2013, high fodder prices constrained the calf crop. But during the second half of 2013 and the first half of 2014, low feed prices and firm carcase and milk prices are expected to support the recovery of both calf production and slaughter. Another factor is the abolishment of the milk quotas in In anticipation of the liberalisation of the dairy market a recovery of the dairy cow herd is anticipated in Ireland, the Benelux countries, Germany and Italy. In most other EU member states, the dairy herd is shrinking mainly due to the phasing out of government support programmes and increased competition on the EU domestic market. EU cattle slaughter is expected to find its low point in During the first half of 2013, slaughter in official slaughterhouses, not including backyard slaughter, was reduced by 4.3%. As a result, EU beef supply is expected to tighten further during 2013.The most significant cuts in slaughter are reported in France and Germany. In both states, farmers invested more in dairy production then in beef production due to the end of the milk quota. This results in a decreased number of slaughtered bulls which leads to a decline in total slaughter numbers and a lower average slaughter weight. This will change in 2014 however, when previous herd expansion is expected to result in higher slaughter numbers. This recovery is forecast to be most pronounced in Ireland, the Iberian Peninsula and Italy. Pigmeat Production For the pigmeat sector, FAS says the EU sow stall ban, which came into force at the start of this year, cut sow stocks more than anticipated. With producers also hit by elevated feed costs, EU sow numbers were down 4.2% in A recovery of total EU pig production is hindered by an ongoing structural crisis in the sector in Poland, Hungary and France. Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this newsletter. We cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions Although pig prices increased in Poland during 2013, the crisis in the swine sector is expected to continue in 2013 and 2014 due to mainly the inefficient structure of the industry, as well as continuing strong competition from Dutch, Danish and German suppliers of piglets and pork. In Hungary, new national regulations such as on manure handling and land leasing are expected to further curtail production. In France, reportedly only about 50% of breeders fully comply with the EU animal welfare regulations, which is anticipated to affect production through After enforcement of the animal welfare regulations, FAS says the EU swine sector is smaller but is expected to have increased its efficiency. Based on the increased productivity, the pig crop is anticipated to recover in In addition to a higher piglet per sow ratio, the upturn will also be supported by elevated carcase prices and lower compound feed prices. Feed prices have declined during the summer and are forecast to fall further after the new harvest. The projected upturn of the pig crop will however be minor and limited to only a few member states, namely the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria and Romania. In these countries, the pig sectors are fully, or close to fully compliant with the new welfare regulations. During the first half of 2013, official slaughter fell by 1.1%. With the lower supply of weaned piglets, slaughter will continue to decline through 2013 and The projected upturn of the pig crop in 2014 is forecast to increase slaughter and pork production in As in the case of beef, consumption of pork is negatively affected by the lower supply, the economic crisis and the increasing popularity of poultrymeat. 9. FOSS Conference on Innovation in the Meat Industry, 7-8 October, Hillerod, Denmark I attach a flyer for the two-day FOSS meat conference on innovation in the meat industry at the FOSS Innovation Centre in FOSS s base at Hillerod, Denmark. We have learned about this at short notice, so hurry if you are interested in attending this event. Stephen Rossides Director Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this newsletter. We cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions In summary, red meat makes an important contribution to the intake of vitamins and minerals which are often lacking in the British diet. Ends THE MEAT ADVISORY PANEL REAFFIRMS THE NUTRITION BEFITS OF RED MEAT In response to a report by DEFRA and Public health England 1 indicating the presence of Hepatitis E virus in pigs and pork, the Meat Advisory Panel (MAP) would like to note the following: Meat makes an important contribution to a healthy diet. Meat and meat products make a significant contribution to intakes of essential nutrients including iron, zinc, selenium, vitamin D and B vitamins, nutrients which have been shown in the UK National Duet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) to be lacking in the British diet. 2 With regards to the findings from the report from DEFRA and Public Health England with reference to pig meat the government is investigating this data further. The pig industry is also continually improving the health and welfare of English pigs. For instance, its health and welfare strategy 3 supports the industry in delivering objectives on improved pig health and eradication or control of significant infections of food safety and public health concern. The Department of Health advises that lean red meat should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Advice of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is that all pork products, including whole cuts and processed products such as sausages, are cooked until steaming hot all the way through with no pink or red in the centre. In addition, using a meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature when cooking pork and pork products reaches 72⁰ before serving or eating can be a very useful check too. 1 DEFRA & Public Health England. Zoonoses report September Accessed 16/09/ Bates B, Lennox A, Prentice A et al. (2012) National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Headline Results from Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3 (combined) of the Rolling Programme (2008/ /2011). https://www.wp.dh.gov.uk/transparency/files/2012/07/nd NS-Y3-report_All-TEXT-docs-combined.pdf 3 Notes to editors: If you would like further information on red meat please visit: FACTS & STATS Lean red meat plays an important part in a balanced diet and can help supply vital nutrients. However, most of these vital nutrients are lacking across all our diets, whatever age we are including: Infants and pre-school children - studies show that diets in this age group are low in vitamin A, vitamin D, iron, zinc. Pre-pubescent children diets were found to be low in vitamin A, magnesium, iron and zinc. Boys tended to have higher intakes of iron and thiamin than girls. Teenagers (13 to 18 years) diets are low in many key nutrients - including vitamin A, vitamin D, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium and potassium. Adults of reproductive age (19-50 years) diets, particularly for females, fall short in magnesium and iron, as well as zinc, selenium and potassium. Pregnancy and lactation - Women on average fail to get enough calcium, magnesium, iron, iodine, selenium and potassium and vitamin D. Middle-age and older age (50 years and above) while this group have better quality diets, there are still shortfalls in intakes of magnesium, zinc and potassium. Older-age (75 years and beyond) data shows that in adults aged over 85, intakes of magnesium, zinc and potassium are below the recommended nutrient intake. Integrating red meat into our diets across the age spectrum, from infanthood to old age, may help to narrow the present gap between nutrient intakes and recommendations. There is also emerging evidence that nutrients commonly found in red meat may play a role in supporting cognitive function, immune health, and addressing iron deficiency. Please visit The Meat Advisory Panel (MAP) is a group of experts who provide independent and objective information about red meat and its role as part of a healthy, balanced diet. MAP is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from EBLEX and BPEX, divisions of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). For more information about the role of red meat and a selection of versatile recipes using pork, beef and lamb visit or please contact: Nicky Smith: ; Jonathan Falcone: on ; Lorraine Calvey: 18 th September 2013 Hepatitis E briefing Purpose of this document This document has been written for pig industry stakeholders to: Inform you about recent news on Hepatitis E in pork Give you key points to communicate when handling questions about Hepatitis E in pork Provide all industry stakeholders with the same information so that we speak with one voice, in a consistent way across the industry Ask you to refer media enquiries to BPEX to handle, or your appropriate member organisation. The initial contacts at BPEX are: o Jon Bullock; ; o Helen Brothwell; ; BPEX will send you an update of this briefing if significant new information emerges. Background context The Sunday Times, and other national papers, recently reported that 10% of pork sausages sold in Britain are infected with Hepatitis E, a potentially deadly new virus that has become endemic in intensively farmed pigs. This was as a result of a Defra Zoonosis report (zoonosis refers to diseases that can be passed from animals to humans), which was made available on-line in September 2013, and describes an increase in cases of Hepatitis E infection in humans. Key messages 1. A recent Defra and Public Health England Zoonosis report made available in September 2013, and based on data from 2011 and 2012, describes an increase in cases of Hepatitis E infection in humans. However, experts still consider this to be a low risk, with 0.001% of the UK population infected per year. 2. There is currently no clear evidence to suggest that the rise in cases in Hepatitis E is linked to pork consumption, and in fact, the source of the rise in cases is not known, and more research needs to be undertaken 3. The statistic 10% of pork sausages sold in Britain are infected with Hepatitis E is based on very limited data and showed no statistical significance 4. The advice to reduce risk is to ensure that sausages and pork are well cooked at 72 C until steaming hot throughout with no pink or red in the centre. Questions that you could be asked and answers I ve heard that there s an issue with Hepatitis E, what s going on? Defra write a report annually on Zoonosis diseases and make it available on their website. The recent media coverage is based on the data in this year s report, which refers to an increase in Hepatitis E in humans, and is based on data collected between 2003 and Defra (and the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency) are aware of the rise in the number of human cases of Hepatitis E in recent years and are working closely with colleagues in the Food Standards Agency and Public Health England to try and better understand the possible role of infection in pigs on the changing human disease incidence that has been identified in the UK. There is currently no clear evidence to suggest that the rise in cases is linked to pork consumption. Sausages produced to Red Tractor standards are only permitted to include muscular cuts of pork and do not include offal (including liver). The advice to reduce risk is to ensure that sausages and pork are well cooked at 72 C until steaming hot throughout with no pink or red in the centre. I heard that 10% of all sausages contain the virus? A study published in 2012 found that 10% of 63 sausages sampled were HEV positive (4). Five of the six positive sausages found came from the same cohort of pigs, making widespread conclusions on national prevalence inappropriate. This extremely limited study does not provide conclusive evidence that HEV is present in 10% of all sausages and showed no statistical significance A different sample from the same study failed to find the virus in 40 samples of pig muscle collected. Why are sausages a higher risk for Hepatitis E than other pork cuts? Sausages have been linked to a higher prevalence of the virus than other pork products, due
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