Horsemeat: NBA asks why no one questioned 'bargain meat'

Following the latest horse meat revelations, the National Beef Association (NBA) has questioned why no one thought to ask how beef was being sold to processors at such low prices.

In a statement released today, the NBA said: “At the moment we are led to believe that no one in the manufacturing process was aware of horse meat been sold as beef, it makes one wonder when the processors were purchasing this bargain beef raw material that no one thought how can we be getting this beef at such a bargain price?”

“Beef is expensive to produce, expensive to process, expensive to store, expensive to distribute and yet there is an expectation that beef burgers can be made and sold for pennies. A premium quality product such as British beef will always have a premium price.”

Hamish McBean of the NBA urged consumers to “ask questions when they are buying their beef, ask where it comes from, demand that those selling know its provenance, demand that the beef they buy is British beef.”

Last week, the NBA released a statement saying that the best way supermarkets could ensure the quality of their beef products was to “pay more for the beef they purchase”.

It stated that the “adulteration of processed products with cheaper meats” was the result of retailers’ “heavy discounting” on beef.

“Supermarkets are not blameless victims of the horsemeat scandal because the core of the problem is they demand to be supplied at prices that are quite simply unrealistic,” explained chairman of the NBA, Oisin Murnion.

“The horsemeat scandal is a classic example of what happens when supermarket suppliers are squeezed in cost terms and consumers are encouraged to believe that beef, which they like and love to buy, is just as cheap as chicken or other less expensive meats.”

Murnion said the NBA was not apologising for cheap horse meat being substitute for more expensive beef mince, a practice which he described as “deceitful and unpardonable”.

However, he added: “The Association is saying if, for example, consumers are encouraged to believe they can buy a frozen beef burger for less than ten pence when prime cattle are selling for an average £1,200 apiece, and processors have to cover all the cost of reducing these animals down to the product in an individual retail pack, then no one can be surprised if short cuts are sometimes taken.”

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