This research project aims to develop a hygienic and safe procedure for producing 'skin-on' sheep meat.
Goat meat with the 'skin-on' is produced and eaten in a number of non-European Union (EU), particularly Islamic, countries.
<p> In the UK there is a market for sheep meat with the 'skin-on' as an alternative to 'skin-on' goat meat.
This type of meat is not permitted to be produced under current EU legislation, which requires the skin to be removed.
This has led to illegal production of skin-on sheep meat in unlicensed premises that are not subject to official inspections and may pose a risk to public health.
In addition, skin-on cattle and sheep feet are currently produced in licensed slaughterhouses due to low implementation of current regulations.
<p> New EU hygiene legislation that comes into force on 1 January 2006, includes special provisions that will allow Member States to adopt national measures to enable the use of traditional methods at any stage of production, processing or distribution of food.
A successful outcome of the project will be the provision of scientific evidence for the safe and hygienic production of 'skin-on' sheep meat and cattle and sheep feet.
This project is a practical investigation into the safe and hygienic production of 'skin-on' sheep carcasses and cattle and sheep feet.
Protocols for the production of these products will be developed.
Hazards will be identified, and procedures to control their risk identified.
This will include microbiological and chemical hazards, particularly veterinary medicines.
As part of this procedure a protocol for effective meat inspection will be proposed.
Sensory evaluations will be conducted to determine the likelihood of consumers accepting the final product.
<p>In due course, a set of production guidelines, based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles will be produced.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), National Sheep Association (NSA) and the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) will provide assistance with this project.
The final report, "<a href="http://www.foodbase.org.uk/results.php?f_report_id=342" target="_new">A Practical Investigation into the Hygienic Production of 'Skin-on' Sheep Carcasses and Cattle and Sheep Feet</A>" is available at Foodbase, an open access repository of the <acronym title="Food Standards Agency"> FSA</acronym>.
<p>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="http://www.food.gov.uk/science/research/" target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.