Member State authorities are currently able to decide at national level whether to allow the use of thrombin as a "processing aid" in food. The Commission proposal was a step towards clarifying that thrombin is a food additive which should be subject to regulation at EU level. Under EU legislation, a food additive may only be permitted in the European Union if it offers benefits to consumers and does not mislead them.
According to the Commission's proposal, meat products reconstituted with thrombin would have required labelling and would have been excluded from restaurants. However, MEPs considered that such measures would not have provided adequate protection against misleading consumers.
Parliament also highlighted a higher risk of bacterial infection in meat products created with thrombin, due to the larger surface area of meat and the cold bonding process that is used.