Processor code of practice finalised

The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) have finalised a processor code of practice, which is now set to be introduced.

The BMPA committed to the code at last year’s Defra Beef Summit, to cover practice for the purchase of cattle so as to improve transparency and relations between processors and livestock producers.

The scope of the voluntary code has now been agreed. It does not cover prices, but has two main features, a joint statement from the NFU and BMPA explained: “It commits individual processor signatories to being open and clear about their own company’s terms and conditions of trading, and signatories undertake to give 12 weeks’ notice of changes to these terms and conditions.”

BMPA president Peter Mitchell said: “Responsible and forward-thinking processors understand the need to be open about their terms and conditions of trading with their producer suppliers and to give reasonable notice of changes to them. Signing up to the code is a visible sign of this recognition, and a commitment to constructive relations with beef producers in order to improve the efficiency of the beef supply chain, so that, together, we can better meet the needs of the marketplace.”

UK cattle processors are being encouraged to sign up to the code, and retailers, foodservice companies and renderers are also being urged to operate according to the principles and spirit of the code in order to help to minimise volatility and uncertainty in the supply chain.

NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe said: “This is a welcome step in the right direction as we continue to seek more openness and transparency in the supply chain. What is critical to our members is the stability that this code should bring, which will allow producers to plan ahead and market their cattle without sudden or unexpected changes to conditions of sale. We hope this will help beef producers to manage the volatility we have seen in recent years and provide a clearer understanding of the terms and conditions that are on offer”.

So far, the following companies have signed up. 

  • ABP Food Group
  • Dovecote Park Limited
  • Kepak Group
  • Randall Parker Foods
  • 2 Sisters Food Group
  • Woodheads/Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC

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