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News 704 views last update:Dec 12, 2006

Pork needs more clarity in the UK

UK supermarkets have been unable to refute MLC allegations that they are creating brands that deliberately avoid promises not to advertise and sell imported low-welfare pork.

The Meat and Livestock Commision (MLC) have claimed that UK supermarkets, including Sainsbury's, Somerfield and Morrisons, are uncommited to their pledge that own-label pork and bacon would only be sold if it had been raised to the same welfare standards as the UK. This follows a campaign by British pig farmers and consumers.

According to evidence by the MLC submitted to the Competition Commission, there has been a rapid growth in tertiary brands that do not carry the retailer's brand name and, which have been derived from farming systems that would be illegal in the UK.

A Somerfield spokesman said that, while the supermarket was committed to supporting the British pork industry, the reality was that the UK was not self-sufficient in this sector and the chain had to supplement the shortfall with European pork to meet consumer demand, adding: “We now sell over 45% British pork. All imported meat is clearly identified with the country of origin.”

MLC consumer affairs director, Richard Lowe, said: “People are easily misled by the on-pack labels. BPEX has been campaigning for clear, transparent and honest labeling for a long time, so consumers can make an informed choice. The whole industry has to work together to clear this up.”

 

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