The UK's major food organisations have promised the government that they will not sell pork and pork products from illegal pig farms, when the European partial stalls ban is introduced on January 1, 2013.
The National Pig Association (NPA) has welcomed the news, which comes after a long public awareness campaign.
After hearing promises from each group in turn, at an industry stakeholder meeting with food minister Jim Paice, NPA chairman Richard Longthorp said; “It is great news that every organisation has confirmed its members will use only meat from legal pig farms”.
The European Commission fears as many as a third of continental pig producers will be unable to meet the January 2013 deadline to get sows out of stalls, except for the first four weeks of pregnancy.
In Britain, where pig producers conform to higher welfare standards, stalls have been wholly banned for 13 years.
Following this week’s stakeholder meeting with Mr Paice, Stewart Houston, chairman of the British Pig Executive, said the industry would now discuss the various pledges that had been made in more detail, to ensure they will be honoured.
Among the organisations represented at the meeting were the British Retail Consortium, the Food and Drink Federation, the Provision Trade Federation, the British Hospitality Association, the Danish Agriculture and Food Council and the British Meat Processors Association.
British Retail Consortium indicated at the stakeholder meeting that it was keen to avoid the sharp price rises that followed the introduction of Europe’s battery cage ban in January this year.
The NPA said British producers would be ready to prevent unnecessary price rises for consumers by providing any additional pork required — but they would need advance commitment from retailers.