The end of an era

And so we come to the end of an era, as we say goodbye to the Meat Trades Journal in its present form and make way for the new revamped

edition kicking off next week.

The meat industry has a vibrant and positive air about it at the

moment, and that is something the new MTJ intends to tap into and reflect.

With beef exports back on the agenda and rising rapidly - the Scots this week announced they had broken the £1m barrier on Scotch beef exports - and an increasing interest in the high-quality delights offered by the local butcher and farm shop, there appears to be everything to play for in the meat sector right now.

However, while positive change is in the air for MTJ, the wholesale trade in London is facing a major shake-up following the House of Commons' decision to allow face-to-face meat and fish trading at New Covent Garden Market. The decision effectively ends Smithfield's monopoly on the wholesale trading of meat in London and could have serious ramifications for the market's future viability.

While the traders at Smithfield will be disappointed that their special status has now ended, the more serious risk could be a haemorrhage of traders from the Smithfield site to NCGM to take advantage of the south London-based market's location. For customers heading into London from the south, the

opportunity to avoid heading into the centre, and perhaps more importantly, avoid paying the Mayor's congestion charge, will prove attractive - and for traders looking to tap into that market, the temptation to shift sites

might prove strong.

The Commons' decision could well have far reaching consequences which could change the face of meat wholesale in London.

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