Case details

R (on the application of Newby Foods Ltd) (Appellant) v Food Standards Agency (Respondent)

Case ID: UKSC 2017/0110

Case summary


Whether the left-over meat on an animal carcass after it has been mechanically butchered, which is then removed from that carcass via a second mechanical process which does not crush the meat, should properly be categorised as "Mechanically separated meat" ("MSM") within the definition in Point 1.14 of Annex I to EU Regulation No. 853/2004.


Most butchering of animal carcasses is today conducted via a mechanical process which, although being very fast, is imprecise. This often leaves substantial amounts of meat on the carcasses, and to avoid this waste a method was developed in the 1970s which would crush the leftover meat and bones under high pressure, to produce a viscous substance commonly referred to as MSM. MSM is a low-quality product which is currently excluded from the definition of "meat" for the purposes of identifying a product’s meat content.

In the mid-1990s the founders of Newby Foods Limited developed a different machine, which removed the left-over meat from the bones without crushing it so that it retained the appearance and properties of meat. This product was initially reviewed by the Food Standards Agency who concluded that it was not MSM, however in 2012 the European Commission took the opposite view and threated to impose safeguard measures against the UK unless it prohibited all lamb or beef meat obtained in this way, and labelled all such pork and poultry meat as MSM. The Food Standards Agency therefore issued a moratorium on meat produced via the Newby Foods method on 4 April 2012, and Newby Foods sought judicial review of this decision.

Newby Foods was ultimately successful before Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart (despite a judgment on the issue by the CJEU which was unhelpful to their case) but the Food Standards Agency successfully appealed the High Court decision to the Court of Appeal. Newby Foods now appeals to the Supreme Court.

Judgment appealed

[2017] EWCA Civ 400



Newby Foods Limited


Food Standards Agency



Lord Reed, Lord Hodge, Lord Carnwath, Lord Kitchin, Lord Sales

Hearing start date

30 Jan 2019

Hearing finish date

30 Jan 2019

Watch hearing
30 Jan 2019 Morning session Afternoon session