The meat business is always fascinating. Quite apart from whether or not you make a profit, there are always many things to consider when you are buying from the southern hemisphere – often for delivery many weeks ahead. Under present conditions, who would like to forecast the value of anything next week, let alone in the mid-distant future!
Then, of course, you have to know the status of whichever EU quota your meat will be imported under. And last but not least, there is the impact of international currency relationships – you rarely have the pleasure of using sterling, so the prayer mats are out again to see what is expected to happen on exchange rates.
Once these decisions are made, you have to hope that the overseas plants are working normally and that your order will be met on time – not delayed by rush orders from Russia. Then, of course, there are always pirates in the Caribbean!
OK, I make it sound as if you have to be mad – or very brave – to build up a regular business in this specialised field, but IMTA members take it all in their stride and, over the years, have developed a sixth sense of how to get the numbers right.
When the refrigerated containers arrive, they go through Port Health scrutiny. They compare all containers against the documents and veterinary certificates. Then comes the important procedure of scientific checks by veterinary staff to ensure that the meat is fully up to standard.
Since some people love to “bash” imports in the media, saying, “We must make these foreigners comply with our standards”, I asked the vets if the imports were lacking in any way. Their answer was quite the reverse – ”excellent”, “very consistent indeed”.
Just thought I’d mention it.
Liz Murphy, International Meat Trade Association