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Sent: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 2:34 AM
Subject: Meat from vaccinated animals

Dear Mary,

Lots of progress and developments, as well as Alan's article on the efficacy of the the Bluetongue vaccination campaign, but I need to sound a cautionary note. The old NFU line about 'the public not eating vaccinated meat' is now generally accepted for the dinosaur it was, but there are a lot of issues around the means of utilisation of meat from vaccinated animals.

In the summer of 2005 I attended a burst of DEFRA meetings attempting to crack this issue, a series terminated by the appointment of Debby Reynolds and her introductory Stakeholder meeting, which actually had the effect of bringing this process to a halt - a process which we now badly need to resume.

You will probably remember the table DEFRA circulated showing the differing processes for the the different classes of Stock in the different phases - it is quite complicated, (although with work we could doubtless simplify it); the biggest problems unresolved were that there is very little demand for deboned and or cooked lamb or beef unless canned or frozen for use in, for example, military, hospital, prison or welfare type usages - but Trade laws prohibit the displacement of existing contracts.

HMG will not step in, leaving the solution to 'the market', when the market is not able to resolve the issue, for as was pointed out to them, the supermarkets are in competition not co-operation; if one is embarrassed by a supply shortfall, another would capitalise on it, not send supplies.

Even if an entity were inclined and able to finance the rapid mobilisation of field kitchens, processing units etc. where would their market lie? Unfortunately DEFRA did not oblige with my request to bring in the full set of differing meat stamps, to see if any obvious amelioration of that issue could be spotted, but there is genuine concern that consumers may be easily spooked by stamps and labels which are essential for the eradication of an animal disease, appearing to have import for human consumption.

The bottom lines are twofold-

Just some thoughts, by no means exhaustive on any front, but to inform you of a large potential pitfall (deal -breaker) ahead of us, unless we get back onto it and get it resolved.

With best wishes,

Chris