NFU Scotland slams Tesco’s ‘misleading’ practices on lamb

National Farmers’ Union (NFU) Scotland president Allan Bowie called Tesco’s practices on lamb “wholly unacceptable” after it was revealed the supermarket chain was placing imported lamb from New Zealand under signs labelled ‘best Scottish Lamb in season’.

Bowie took to his blog to voice his frustration at the lack of support Scottish lamb was receiving from major retailers. The post, addressed as ‘Dear Mr Tesco…’ highlighted how low prices have resulted in a challenging time for farmers across a number of sectors.

“We believe this was misleading to the public and, at a time when lamb prices are extremely low, it is deeply disingenuous to farmers to sell imported products under a banner promoting the quality of the domestic lamb that we produce in Scotland and across the United Kingdom,” wrote Bowie.

He added that it was unacceptable that plenty of domestic lamb producers in Scotland were not reaping the benefits they ought to be.

“NFU Scotland has a simple policy on lamb sourcing. We believe that, in peak production seasons for Scottish and British lamb, there is no need for imported products on retailers’ shelves. We believe there is the scope to extend the season of Scottish and British lamb and would like to see all retailers setting out their commitments to sourcing domestic lamb.”

Bowie said many of NFU Scotland’s committed members had been spending time and effort to promote Scotch Lamb among retailers, including Tesco. For their efforts to be worthwhile, it was vital that this “co-mingling of product and misleading behaviour” came to an end, said Bowie.

As a result of the actions carried out by Tesco, Bowie revealed he was going to write to the Groceries Code Adjudicator and Trading Standards, requesting that the practices stop.

He concluded by saying: “We need to see immediate action to better support home-grown lamb, restoring our confidence and, vitally, restoring consumer confidence in the product and want Tesco to deliver on its part of the deal.”

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