NFU calls on retailers to invest in British pork

NFU vice-president Meurig Raymond has asked the British Retail Consortium (BRC) to encourage members to invest in British pork.

The appeal came after a speaker at the Oxford Farming Conference revealed that 58% of the pigmeat consumed in the UK was imported, mostly from countries with lower welfare standards.

Participating in a Q&A session at the conference, Raymond deplored the statistics and told BRC director of food and sustainability Andrew Opie: “Why don’t you tell your members to invest in British pork?”

Opie called for more perspective on the figure, saying it was not specific to retailers and also included caterers, before arguing that retailers were already committed to helping British producers. “Retailers are the only businesses to have signed the Country Of Origin Labelling (COOL) motion,” he added.

Around 72% of consumers think it is important to have clear origin labelling on meat products, according to Which?. Chief policy adviser Sue Davies said: “People think it’s very important that there is origin labelling on meat, and the main reason is because people want to support British farmers.”

Sainsbury’s, which hosted a fringe meeting during the conference, reasserted its commitment to British agriculture, reminding delegates that 100% of its fresh chicken, sausages and ham were British.

However, Northern Ireland pig farmer Andrew McCrea, who used the statistics in his presentation, quoted a Bpex statement saying that “produced in the UK” had become a euphemism for “made from imported pork”, and said that more needed to be done to support British pork.

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