26 November 1999

£2.65m for UK pig promotion

THE British pig industry has been awarded £2.65m by the government to spend on pigmeat promotion, with a further £0.35m going towards promotion in Northern Ireland.

The money is part of a £5m package for farmers, with the remaining £2m going as grants for promotion on all meats, half for England and the rest for Wales Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The money for the pig industry will be allocated by the British Pig Executive (BPEX) the marketing arm of the pig industry. How it will be spent and when it will be available has yet to be confirmed, although National Pig Association chief executive, Mike Sheldon, says it could be available before Christmas.

The money for pig promotion will not have to be matched by the industry because BPEX levies already received cover this stipulation associated with the award.

Mr Sheldon welcomed the move, but said the industrys chief objective remains government compensation for the "BSE tax", which is costing the industry an estimated £80m a year.

In another move to help pig farmers, BPEX has also recommended to the Meat and Livestock Commission a temporary suspension of the pork and bacon promotion levy of 65p a pig for the rest of this financial year.

lThe NPA has called on the UK to take the same line on labelling laws as Switzerland.

Switzerland recently announced that from Jan 2000 all imported fresh meat and eggs that did not meet its production laws must be labelled as such. The measure applies to hormone-treated beef, all meat fed with growth promoting antibiotics and eggs from caged hens.

The Swiss have shown it is possible to make statutory provision for animal production methods in food labelling and that this is WTO compatible, said the NPA. &#42