27 July 2001

Fewer pork sales carry quality standard mark

LESS guaranteed British pork is being sold in supermarkets than this time last year, concludes a new survey by Bernard Partridges Crisis-in-Pigs group.

The survey, for the three months to June, showed that only 78% of pork carried the quality standard mark logo and can therefore be guaranteed as being bred, produced and processed in the UK, compared with 83% a year ago.

According to BPEXs Mick Sloyan this reflected the decline in the British pig herd, which is now 15% lower than it was last year, and the need for more imports.

Ham in particular faired badly with only 23% carrying the mark, down from 50% in June 2000.

However, the latest survey did show that pork displaying the mark had almost recovered to pre foot-and-mouth levels. But bacon and ham had made disappointing gains.

Out of the supermarkets, Tesco most readily displayed the mark and was described by the report as the "fresh pork hero".

In June this year, Tesco used QSM on 97% of its pork sales. This is up from 84% in March 2001. However, its record on bacon is not so good with only 36% of product carrying the QSM logo.

This is better than most of the other multiples, in which less than a third of bacon carried the mark.

A Tesco spokeswoman said that F&M and classical swine fever had hit its supply chain hard, in particular bacon supplies.

"We havent been able to source more than 50% of our bacon from the UK. Before F&M about 75% was British," she claimed.

Waitrose was singled out as being a "villain", because it refuses to use the mark on packaging, due to a labelling clash.

A spokeswoman said: "We believe our own assurance standards are above the quality mark. All our pork comes from British suppliers and carries the MLCs British Meat logo." &#42