Following a series of court judgements on the legal definition of “mechanically separated meat” (MSM), the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published a guidance to provide clarity on what MSM is and how it affects business operators. FSA is also seeking stakeholder views on the new guidance through a public consultation that is open until May 22, 2024.

MSM is obtained by the removal of meat from bones, and it has its own requirements for hygienic and safe production. The recent court rulings have determined three criteria for the classification of MSM:

  1. The use of bones from which the intact muscles have already been detached (or of poultry carcasses, to which meat remains attached)
  2. The use of methods of mechanical separation to recover that meat
  3. The loss or modification of the muscle fiber structure of the recovered meat.  

FSA acknowledges that the clarified scope of MSM may affect some businesses and that time may be required for industry to adapt their processes and the way they classify products as a result. Feedback received through the public consultation will inform FSA’s approach to implementing the guidance.