A North Yorkshire pig producer has called for more volunteers to join a scheme to monitor country of origin labelling for supermarket pigmeat.

Fred Henley, who finishes pigs at Seaton Ross, near York, is responsible for pigmeat labelling checks within three of his local stores in Selby. Since the National Pig Association’s Porkwatch scheme started in 2004, he has been scanning the shelves every two months to record how much produce is carrying the British Quality Standard Mark. Results are sent to an independent research company, which evaluates progress across England.

“Highlighting supermarket labelling policies and publishing their performance has encouraged some of the retailers to review their labelling practices, and stock more British pigmeat,” said Mr Henley.

‘Prominent labelling’

“However, there is still a long way to go and I would like to see prominent labelling applied to all farm produce. If we had more volunteers, we could increase our store coverage and strengthen the campaign.”

According to a national Porkwatch spokesman, the latest results show that BudgensWaitrose and Marks & Spencer are consistently strong supporters of British pork. Meanwhile Tesco has made “significant strides forward,” with 84% of its pork, 41% of bacon and 29% of ham identified as having been produced in Britain.
 
 “There is often a discrepancy between retailers’ claims that they support British produce, and the amount of clearly-labelled British pigmeat on their shelves,” says Digby Scott of Porkwatch. “The role of the survey is to produce figures that even the retailers accept as being accurate.
 
For more information on Porkwatch, contact the NPA through its website – www.npa-uk.net – or e-mail digby@pigworld.eu

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