'Pekin' the best ducklings

MFD Foods, one of Europe's largest suppliers of Pekin ducklings - has won the RSPCA's Freedom Food accolade for its Breckland Free Range Duckling products which are raised on grass fields in the heart of the Norfolk forest.

A MFD Foods spokesman said the ducklings were slow grown (for around 52-53 days) and were fed a highly nutritious, specially formulated vegetable diet, free from any additives and growth promotion supplements.

MFD Foods managing director, Dale Cole, said: "This really is the finest duckling that you can buy. It has a full flavour and depth of taste which sets it apart from the competition.

"It cooks beautifully and presents consumers with a highly attractive alternative to other meat and poultry products."

He said that the Breckland forest environment was perfect for rearing the special duckling.

"And to have the backing of Freedom Food means that we hope it will become one of the most sought after duckling brands in the sector as far as consumers are concerned," he added.

Steven Tait, head of Freedom Food sales and marketing said: "The RSPCA standards for ducks used by Freedom Food are solely focused on improving the birds welfare. They provide plenty of space on the range for birds to move around freely and express normal behaviour, access to open water to allow the birds to preen and head duck, and shade and shelter."

He added that all Freedom Food members were subject to annual assessments by specially trained assessors, random spot checks by RSPCA farm livestock officers and traceability checks were carried out on products carrying the logo from supermarket shelf back to farm.

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