Farming Union Backs Research into Legal Production of 'Smokies'
Byline: By Steve Dube Western Mail
More and more farmers are backing moves to legalise 'smokies'.
The Farmers' Union of Wales is supporting research that could lift the ban on the popular ethnic delicacy, produced when the skin of a sheep or goat is blow-torched to give a characteristic charred flavour.
The meat is illegal because the animals are currently slaughtered on unlicensed premises and retain specified risk material such as brain and spinal cord.
FUW President Gareth Vaughan said there was an evident demand for the meat that could only be met at present by people acting outside the law.
'The FUW has been discussing the matter with the Food Standards Agency, who have initiated scientific research into the feasibility of producing this meat hygienically in licensed abattoirs,' he said. 'This research is on-going, and the results should be published in 2005.'
Earlier this year Mohammad Asghar, chairman of Plaid Cymru's Newport East branch, told Ceredigion farmers that legalisation would provide financial benefits for them.
'Welsh farmers are losing out because there is a huge market for smokies, halal and kosher meat and they are not seeing any of the profit,' he said.
'It has not been proven medically that smokies are harmful to people and we want the Government to reconsider its position.'
Last November NFU Cymru president Peredur Hughes called for investigations into a legitimate way of producing smokies.
Speaking at a meat crime conference organised by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health in Cardiff, Mr Hughes warned that the trade in illegal meat could jeopardise consumer confidence and demand for Welsh lamb and beef. …