Nothing like a good scare story to get a newspaper some more readers and the Daily Record yesterday ran a front page story suggesting that Scottish mince is under threat from the EU and, of course, Gnat MEP Alyn Smith waded in too.
The Daily Record today followed up with this story:
Butchers warn EU Scots mince ban would be 'unworkable'
Mar 25 2008 By Craig McDonald
BUTCHERS yesterday branded a ban on traditional Scottish mince as "unworkable" - and impossible to enforce.
They hit out at new health rules which state meat used to make mince should be cut less than six days after an animal's slaughter.
Our butchers traditionally hang carcasses for 14 to 28 days to increase the flavour.
Butcher Duncan McKenzie, a three-times past president of the Scottish Federation of Meat Traders, said: "I totally disagree with this rule change - and so does everyone I've spoken to.
"I would also be surprised if it actually happens.
"I would like to know how they are going to monitor it as it's totally unworkable.
"How can an inspector know for sure how old mince on a butcher's counter is?
"I would say the vast majority of people will just laugh in the face of these rules and say, 'Don't be daft'.
"I don't think Environmental Health will want all the extra work and hassle either.
"There have been rules in the past which are so preposterous that no one really does anything about them.
"It's just a waste of everyone's time and money."
Eurocrats want to end the sale of properly aged beef mince largely to protect the French from poisoning themselves with raw steak tartare.
However, E Coli expert Professor Hugh Pennington said meat would be no safer at six days than at three weeks.
Duncan, 49, whose family have been butchers in Greenock for almost a century, said: "The annoying thing is these new rules are purely and simply for the French market."
The Food Standards Agency opposed the moves but lost and are now in the process of telling butchers to implement the rules immediately.
Yesterday, politicians vowed to beat the mince ban. There are fears it will push up costs and lead to meat being binned.
Well that is a load of old mince. Here is the piece I posted the website of my employer Elspeth Attwooll MEP back in July 2006:
Mince and tatties still on the menu
3.45.30pm UTC (GMT +0000) Thu 13th Jul 2006
Euro MP Elspeth Attwooll has reacted to recent reports that a EU regulation means that meat hung for more than six days cannot be used for mince.
Elspeth said: "The regulation is supposed to apply only to wholesalers who produce mince, mainly for supermarkets. It should not affect the local butcher shop, which makes its own. If people do think their business is likely to be adversely affected, then there is a procedure where they can apply, through the Food Standards Agency, for an exemption."
So, what's changed since then? Nothing at all!