Global Outlook

Each month, IMTA Council members gather to discuss key issues affecting the world of international meat and poultry. The members are well-known figures in the business and bring to the table many years of experience and a great deal of common sense.

They are always ready to consider and comment frankly on the activities of others with meat interests and, at times, it is very enlightening. One member, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was particularly fraught recently over the way in which some members of our great industry go to enormous lengths to "help consumers make informed choices" when it comes to perceived conflicts of conscience regarding carbon footprint, animal husbandry, breed, feed and so on.

His view is that, by the time the consumer or foodservice operator has digested all the information on the product, they have forgotten the purpose of the shopping mission.

The reality is that consumers rate appearance and tenderness first, followed by value. Previous experience of the product counts. For most people, place of origin is of little or no importance. They have come to trust their retailer to ensure that the product is safe and healthy. Retailers ensure that their suppliers are up to scratch.

Any meat or poultry imported into the UK has to meet the standards set by D G Sanco in Brussels and endorsed by Defra here. Any plant exporting to the EU is examined with great thoroughness and the veterinary inspections are equal to anything we have in the UK. On arrival here, the product is checked and verified by vets. In short, imported meat and poultry has exactly the same health status as that produced here. We should all relax on this issue, and get on with our real job of providing our nation with excellent food from top farms around the world.

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