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The European Commission has announced it will spend €870,000 over two years to help Polish meat producers and processors export to the US, Canada, Japan, China, India and other big non-European Union markets. Brussels is funding 50% of planned marketing programmes, matching financing from national governments or private sources. The money goes to meat group Stowarzyszenie Rzezników i Wedliniarzy Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej.

Brakes is launching four fresh pork products carrying the RSPCA's Freedom Food label, aimed at improving welfare standards for the 900 million farm animals reared for food each year in the UK. Specialist meat supplier Prime Meats, part of Brakes, has sourced the products from farms in Norfolk. They are: pork stir fry strips; diced leg meat for kebabs and casseroles; diced pork shoulder; and pork mince for meatballs, pasta fillings and pies.

Thirty-two staff have hit out at employer Underwood Meats in Rotherham, claiming it has thrown them on the Christmas scrapheap, while newly appointed Eastern European colleagues have escaped the axe. The job losses come as a result of lost business at the large pub and restaurant meat supplier. Underwood's bosses have dismissed the axed employees' claim, saying they wanted to employ a policy of last-in first-out, but could not because of employment rules.

A new trade fair for speciality food is to be set up in the East. Tastes of Anglia campaigned for the fair, which is likely to take place in autumn 2007. The name of the fair is not yet confirmed, but it will focus on retail in its first year and will feature demonstrations of specific skills, such as meat cutting and cake decorating,

as well as workshops and cookery demonstrations.

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