McWhinney’s Sausages supports EU regulations on DSM

McWhinney’s Sausages has welcomed the recent EU ban on desinewed meat which will come into effect on April 28. In this blog, Kevin McWhinney airs his views on the issue.

If you are unaware of the incoming changes, over the next 4-6 weeks all use of DSM in manufacturing and processing must either cease completely (beef and lamb) or be clearly labelled and declared (pork and poultry).

I have personally been at the forefront of arguing for this for the past decade, and welcome this move by the European Commission and subsequently the Food Standards Agency.

DSM or desinewed meat refers to meat left on bones after butchering which is then grafted off to create a cheap mince like substance.

Over the past week there has been an avalanche of articles in the press referring to the new EU ban on desinewed meat and its negative and damaging implications on the meat industry.  For those that don’t know, desinewed meat, or DSM, refers to meat that is left on bones after butchering that is grated off mechanically to create a cheap mince-like substance.  This is then used to ‘bulk up’ food products to portray a higher true meat content and quality to the consumer.

To our huge disappointment and, to be honest, disgust- even the vast majority of our own industry ‘experts’ seem to be outraged that DSM can no longer be considered as viable meat content. We are overjoyed that this is now no longer the case, as we have always argued that DSM is NOT meat.

The Food Standards Agency is enforcing this new ban because, like us,the European Commission sees DSM and MSM (Mechanically Separated Meat) as the same.

Unsurprisingly, the ‘big boys’ of the industry – the British Meat Processers Association (BMPA) are horrified that using DSM must be stopped in some products or clearly declared as filler, and not meat, in others.  These are the manufacturers that see profit and price as king, with product quality a very distant second.  This article is not to portray any manufacturer as having done anything illegal- as they have not.  At McWhinney’s Sausages, we are simply delighted that after all this time the industry is soon to be on a level playing field.

For the record, McWhinney’s has a very clear ethos on using any variety of mechanically reclaimed meat- we never have, we never will.  For the past 114 years and through 6 generations, we have beaten the ‘quality over price’ drum.  We don’t have a single issue with other manufacturers producing cheap products with the aid of DSM, but we have always battled the fact that with the laws allowing DSM to be classified as ‘meat’, customers have justifiably struggled to understand the reasons for our higher prices. Now with this new law announcing DSM as non-meat, many others are now adapting their product in order to remain legal.  McWhinney’s do not have to make a single tweak to its products as we have only ever used real meat.

Since we have never used DSM, we have always been on the higher end of the pricing scale, and buyers have always been able to source other sausages cheaper.  Given DSM’s right to be called meat, the fact that others in the industry were getting away with it was just a hard pill for us to swallow.  Now, a new era is beginning when the entire industry will be legally obliged to declare the meat content of a product separately from its DSM content.  Our reaction…it’s about time.

We would like to see this taken a step further and would welcome legislation whereby product details were available not only on food trade packaging, but throughout food consumption.  We feel that diners in restaurants, bars, and cafes must be in a position to know what they are eating.  Take the case at McDonald’s in the US last year, whereby all usage of the infamous ‘pink slime’ in beef burgers ceased.  This may well have been because its hand was forced by external pressures, but at least McDonalds, Burger King and Taco Bell- the world’s largest burger chains, have now made the move away from pink slime in all of their products.We see the pink slime revelation in the US which disgusted the uninformed general public as the equivalent to the use of DSM in the UK.

Essentially, it is vital to let every food consumer (whether in a restaurant or from a supermarket) decide what they want and what they don’t.  In terms of the use of pork and poultry DSM- by all means allow those who use it to use it, but clearly and concisely declare it and let the public know that it is in their food!  Let the customer make their own informed decisions.

As a company, we look forward to a more equal playing field in our industry.  Because of our permanent stance on DSM, McWhinney’s Sausages and others like us welcome the change.