Into record figures

The Guild of Q Butchers has reported this year's entries for the Product Evaluation of the 2006 Smithfield Awards are into record figures.

More than 540 products were assessed last week by a team of experts led by BPEX's Keith Fisher at MLC headquarters in Milton Keynes, with 47% of entries gaining gold, 28% silver and 13% bronze.

Products were entered in seven categories, including a new section for Christmas products. Other categories were sausages, burgers, cooked meats, bacon & cured, pies & bakery and kitchen ready.

The Overall Supreme Award and the Diamond Awards for the best category products - sponsored by Lucas Ingredients, Avery Weigh-Tronix and Dalziel - and the EBLEX awards for products made from English beef and lamb, will be announced at a presentation lunch in Butchers Hall, London, on 14 November.

TV chef and restaurateur Ed Baines will be the celebrity guest and will present the trophies and certificates.

Martin Blackwell, chairman of the Guild's Product Evaluation Committee, said: "Q butchers pride themselves on innovation and it is encouraging that so many products, both traditional and new, were entered for the 2006 awards.

"Many of the winning ideas will eventually be shared among the membership."

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