News 657 views last update:Feb 25, 2016

UK retailers switching to imported pork

Retailers are risking another horsemeat scandal by switching from UK to imported pig meat, the National Pig Association has warned.

The NPA's members carry out regular checks on supermarket shelves and survey industry pig meat buyers. The checks revealed that pork, bacon and gammon lines were being switched back to imported produce because it was slightly cheaper.

In one case alone the NPA found that a deal to buy 10,000 British pigs a week had been ditched in favour of imported produce.
NPA general manager Zoe Davies told Farmers Weekly that she was worried the foundations for the next food scandal were already being laid by some retailers.

"In the aftermath of the scandal retailers spoke of shorter supply chains and being more open about where they bought food. Now we are seeing them turn their backs on those policies and pledges," Dr Davies said.

"Consumers had started to trust that the supermarkets had turned over a new leaf and expected supermarkets to deliver on their post-horsemeat scandal commitments to buy safe food produced in Britain.

"It's disappointing retailers are sliding back from that strong British position they publicly adopted. They have gone back to chasing margins," she added.

"But if they think they can return to their old habits as soon as our backs are turned they had better think again. We won't let this matter drop and nor will the NFU."

The NPA is now conducting a series of meetings with buyers to find out their reasons for retreating from their post-horsemeat scandal pledges to introduce short supply chains.

The association said it would not reveal the names of the worst offenders until those meetings have been completed.

By Jonathan Riley, Farmers Weekly

Pig Progress

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