Press release

Shoppers to make more informed choices on minced meat

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

New minced meat labelling laws will mean for the first time that shoppers buying ‘lean’ minced meat are guaranteed a low fat product.

Currently, meat sold as “lean” can contain as much as 15% fat and 15% collagen. From 1 January 2014, new laws mean that minced meat can only be labelled “lean” if it has a fat content of 7% or less and a collagen content of 12% or less of the meat protein content. These rules will be introduced over the coming months to give food businesses time to amend labels or consider changes to their products.

In addition, all minced meat must be labelled with the percentage of fat and collagen it contains. These changes will give shoppers clear information on the content of minced meat, enabling them to make informed choices.

Food and Farming Minister, George Eustice said:

“For the first time, people choosing “lean” minced meat will be guaranteed a low fat product. Minced meat will be clearly labelled with the percentage of fat, empowering people to make more informed choices about what they buy.”

To retain shoppers’ choice, UK businesses will be allowed to continue to make minced meat that has a fat and collagen content higher than new EU limits, as long as it is clearly labelled with the percentages of each.

The table below shows the EU Regulations for minced meat. Any EU Member State may allow minced meat to be made with higher levels of fat and collagen as long as products are labelled with a national mark.

UK businesses will have to follow EU regulations on the fat and collagen content of meat labelled “lean.” If UK businesses decide not to follow EU rules on the other three categories of minced meat, they will have to label products with a national mark. Percentages of fat and collagen content must be given on all minced meat.

EU minced meat categories Fat content as a percentage of product Collagen content as a percentage of meat protein
lean minced meat ≤ 7% ≤ 12%
minced pure beef ≤ 20% ≤ 15%
minced meat containing pig meat ≤ 30% ≤ 18%
minced meat of other species ≤ 25% ≤ 15%

These regulations apply to minced meat sold as such.