The National Beef Association has called on livestock producers to write to supermarket regional head offices if they find imported beef mixed in with British beef on retailers’ shelves.

The NBA has been successful in persuading the Local Authorities’ Coordinators of Regulatory Services to advise each local authority district that the mixing, or co-mingling of products from different countries of origin is an offence under EU guidelines.

Robert Forster, NBA chief executive, said: “The NBA sought clarification of the legal position regarding the mixing of beef of different countries of origin in retail chilled cabinets with particular regard to supermarkets.

“This practice of co-mingling packs in the same section of a chill cabinet presents the opportunity for consumers to be misled about the origin of beef.”

LACORS has advised local authorities that packs of different geographical origin can be sold together in the same chill cabinet – as the specific country of origin will be labelled on the individual packs.

But it considers that a number of safeguards should be put in place, such as grouping all packs together by country of origin and separating these with plastic strips.

Protest

Meanwhile, the NBA’s Northern Ireland division was out in Cardiff last week, campaigning for a ban on Brazilian beef.

Fairness for Farmers in Europe co-ordinator and protest organiser, William Taylor, said that the Tesco protest was conducted successfully with about 100 farmers, including members of the Farmers Union of Wales, distributing over 1000 leaflets claiming there were risks associated with Brazilian beef.

A spokeswoman for Tesco dismissed the group’s claims over the safety of Brazilian beef. “There are no artificial growth hormones in any of our meat – including any from Brazil. This is verified by many different organisations including EU and Brazilian veterinary officials and farm assurance schemes which all our farms are audited against,” she said.

“The vast majority of the fresh beef we sell in Britain comes from Britain. However, to guarantee our customers availability of high-quality beef products all year round at affordable prices, we sometimes have to source from outside the UK.”


WHO IS LACORS 
 LACORS is the local government central body responsible for overseeing local authority regulatory and related services. It coordinates the enforcement activities of trading standards and also works on food safety (www.lacors.gov.uk)