We hear so much that is wrong about Europe and the way it affects us that we tend to believe everything we hear. Our industry has been particularly challenged by European Legislation.
My thanks to the Forum of Private Business who published this press release, which puts straight a story circulated by the tabloids that got many people’s backs up. Europe is not perfect by any means, but we are naive if we believe every scare story written about it.
Taking stock of the bone issue
Let’s not make any bones about it, there’s a lot of rumours and half-truths concerning EU legislation and a recent story that appeared in the press concerning the legality or otherwise of butchers giving away or selling bones to customers is a case in point.
Press reports had suggested that local councillors had sent out ten thousand letters to butchers claiming that it is now illegal under European rules for butchers to ‘pass on’ bones to their customers.
Bob Salmon, FPB’s food adviser and an influential voice in the European commission, caught scent of the story and decided to sniff out the real deal. After speaking to both the Meat and Livestock Commission and the Food Standards Agency Bob was able to get to the bottom of this particular shaggy dog story.
“There is no truth in the rumours that it is now illegal for butchers to pass on bones to their customers either for their pets or for making stock,” he said. “Any meat that reaches the shop has already been passed fit for human consumption, so there isn’t a problem with passing on the bones.
“Perhaps where the confusion lies is in the rules concerning the disposal of meat waste. Butchers are obliged to incinerate such waste, to avoid pollution through inappropriate disposal methods, yet there is nothing to prevent them from disposing of bones via their customers. And you could argue that there is a cost benefit from doing so. If a butcher can persuade a customer to take a few bones for the dog or for making stock they will reduce their waste disposal costs accordingly.”
So the message is clear to butchers, if your customers would like to keep their dog fit and healthy or improve the flavour of their cooking, there’s nothing that the European Commission is doing that will prevent you from doing so.