Keeping an eye on pork

Fears are growing low welfare pig meat could be pouring into the country from abroad to meet Christmas demand.

The festive season always sees a peak in the sales of gammon so the British Pig Executive (BPEX) and the National Pig Association (NPA) are launching a special 'GammonWatch'.

The programme is an extension of the existing PorkWatch which regularly checks the quantity of British pork and bacon on supermarket shelves. NPA chairman Stewart Houston said: "We would ask all retailers to make sure their labelling conforms to Food Standards Agency (FSA) guidelines regarding country of origin.

"Many people buy gammon as a one-off at Christmas-time and they need to look carefully at labelling. They should look for the Quality Standard Mark to ensure the meat comes from high-welfare production systems.

"A report by BPEX showed two-thirds of the pig meat imported into the UK was produced under condition which would be illegal here. This is unfair to UK pig farmers.

"We will be conducting a special 'GammonWatch' throughout December to monitor product labelling and we shall publish the results in the New Year."

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