France opposes EU U-turn on animal protein in fish feed

France on Friday said it opposed a European Union decision to lift a ban on fish meal made from ground-up pigs or poultry that came as the bloc faces a spiralling horsemeat scandal.

"It's bad timing," said France's junior food minister Guillaume Garot.

"France is against this European measure," he told France Info.

The European Commission on Thursday re-authorised the use of Processed animal proteins (PAPs) derived from non-ruminant farmed animals, in this case mainly pigs and poultry, in fish feed.

Their use was banned in 1997 for cattle, and from 2001 for all animals, as part of efforts to tackle the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or Mad Cow disease, caused when other ruminants, in this case sheep, were used in feed.

It comes amid a Europe-wide scandal in which large quantities of horsemeat were mis-labelled as beef products.

Concern has spiralled after British officials revealed that the potentially harmful drug phenylbutazone, a painkiller for horses, had been found in horse carcasses sent to France.