A NORTH Yorkshire company has blamed the horsemeat scandal on new EU meat industry laws.

Management at Newby Foods, based at Newby Wiske, near Northallerton, met MP Anne McIntosh, head of the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, as part of her investigation into the affair.

The company used to supply “desinewed” meat, which is recovered from bones using automated machinery, to major supermarkets and food processing companies.

Last March, the European Commission ruled that desinewed meat, classified as “mechanically separated meat” whereby the remaining meat is ground up with bones and bone marrow, would be banned.

Newby Foods boss Doug Manning said: “I would say 90 per cent of the companies that had a problem with horse meat, we used to supply.”

The company produced pork, chicken, lamb and beef, and now continues to produce pork and chicken, at just half the levels of business it used to have. It had to lay off 40 staff, more than a third of its staff, and has £2 million worth of meat extraction machinery standing idle in its factory.

The EC banned desinewed meat with seven days notice, although there were no health risks associated with the product.

Miss McIntosh, who also met farmers in Thirsk, said there was a direct correlation between the hastily-introduced ban and horse meat appearing in products.