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Assessment of Information Concerning Consumption of Skin on Sheep Meat Treated with Veterinary Medicines


Goat meat with the skin on is produced and eaten in a number of non-EU countries. In the UK there is a market for sheep meat with the skin on (also known as “smokies”) as an alternative to the goat product. Skin-on sheep meat is prepared by burning the flesh of a ewe carcase with a blow torch to give a golden appearance and a smoky taste. <P>
This type of meat is not currently permitted to be produced under current EU legislation. This has led to illegal importations posing a threat through the introduction of animal diseases. In the UK, the illegal production of skin-on sheep meat takes place in unlicensed premises that are not subject to official inspections and therefore posing a potential risk to public health. New EU hygiene legislation that came into force on the 1 January 2006 included special provisions that will allow Member States to adopt national measures to enable the use of traditional methods at any stages of production, processing or distribution of food.

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Results and Findings: Residues of veterinary medicinal products in conventional skin-off animal products are considered not to be a risk, provided the manufacturers instructions have been followed and the appropriate withdrawal period has been observed. MRL’s are required for “pig/chicken skin and fat in natural proportions”, as the skin can be consumed in both cases. According to the CVMP Note for Guidance on the Risk Analysis Approach for Residues of Veterinary Medicinal Products in Food of Animal Origin (EMEA/CVMP/187/00-Final) it is possible to extrapolate MRLs within classes of animals. If identical MRLs for a veterinary medicinal product were derived in cattle, pigs and poultry, which represent the major species with different metabolic capacities and tissue composition, the same MRL can also be set for sheep, horses or rabbits.
A number of ectoparasiticides and macrocyclic lactone products with MA’s for sheep also have MA’s for pigs and poultry.

Thus the SP’s cypermethrin or deltamethrin or the OP diazinon have identical MRL’s for sheep fat as for pig or chicken skin and fat. Similarly the endectocides doramectin and ivermectin have similar MRL’s. It can be assumed therefore that the withdrawal periods for products containing these activesalready defined on the product label would be the same regarding the consumption of ovine skin and fat (in equal proportions). Thus it would be possible to control the majority of sheep endo- and ectoparasites with existing actives if extrapolation of MRLs and withdrawal periods was allowed.
<p>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="; target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.

Veterinary Laboratories Agency, UK
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