Poultry industry urges safeguarding of welfare standards

British poultry farmers have called for public procurement of British food and no dilution of health and welfare standards in Brexit trade deals. 

Speaking at the British Poultry Council’s (BPC) Annual Reception and Awards in the presence of Secretary of State Michael Gove, BPC chairman John Reed urged the acknowledgement of British poultry meat farmers’ and producers’ contribution to sustainable food production and the economy. 

“How we choose to feed ourselves as a nation, and the place British food has on the world stage, are questions we must answer,” he said. “We need to articulate how proud we are of our home-grown food, our world-leading standards and the ‘Great British Food Values’ that go into producing it. 

“Brexit is giving us an opportunity to redefine our Britishness, to say that our first choice is British and to celebrate our own world-class standards. Government’s commitment to not let any potential trade deal dilute our high standards of production is something our farmers truly deserve.”

He said the government must focus on those who are meeting these high standards.

“Government must make a concerted effort to buy food from those in this country who invest in meeting those standards. We want the government to promote British food, and give public procurers the support to source it as their first choice.

“Our communities want to know where their food comes from, and that it is safe, wholesome, and nutritious. We are calling on the government to procure British food for public services and declare its commitment to British produce and producers, and give confidence to our farmers and consumers. Food produced by British farmers and producers should not only be actively prioritised for public services, it should be celebrated.”

Reed was also joined by Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton, to present the 2017 BPC Awards, which acknowledged the exceptional contribution of those working in the sector.  

This year’s BPC Award winners were:

Distinguished Service: Reg Smith, agricultural director, Faccenda Foods

Distinguished Service: Dr Andrew Ballantyne, agricultural technical manager, Gressingham Foods

Distinguished Service: Kevin Smith, director of agriculture, Banham Poultry

Special Merit: Professor Nigel Gibbens, chief veterinary officer, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

Special Merit: Len Goodman, Anglian Turkey Association

Student Scholarship of the Year: Allison Doreen Craig, PhD student, SRUC

Student Scholarship of the Year: Lucy Berriman, Harper Adams graduate and poultry biosecurity field technician, Kilco International

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