EVENTS SHOWS BEEF ON THE WAY BACK

PRODUCERS AND processors have made real progress in improving the quality of British beef over the past five years, according to a leading meat expert.

Fred Mallion made the comment as he announced the winning entry of beef ribs in a regional competition at this year”s Countryside Live event (Oct 30-31) at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrowgate.

 Mr Mallion, the judge’s steward, said the overall winner, from a 304kg Blonde d’Aquitaine-cross heifer owned by Tomas Bowring, had an excellent bone/lean fat ratio, with fine-grained flesh.

 “That is a blueprint for good eating,” said Mr Mallion, who is also a retired Smithfield College principal.

 “The main reason for the improvement in beef quality is that customers have been demanding higher standards, and producers have responded enthusiastically. The meat trade must also take credit, because it has adjusted slaughtering, chilling and hanging techniques. It has been a team effort.”

Mr Bowring and his father Robert had never entered a meat competition before. They have a 56ha (140 acres) farm near Mansfield, Notts, as well as four butcher”s shops.

 “Our beef sales have gone up by 15% over the past year, mainly because there hasn’t been any bad publicity during that time,” said Robert Bowring.

But there was no single answer to providing what the customer wanted, he added. “Older people usually prefer more fat. In general, the younger generation know very little about individual cuts of meat. But EBLEX recently sent us an explanatory poster using a picture of a carcass and it has attracted a lot of interest.”