9 March 2001

Imported meat costs jump sharply

IMPORTED meat prices have soared since the outbreak of foot-and-mouth, much to the chagrin of many UK producers who have seen their markets fall.

Pigmeat from the Continent has risen by about 50%, says independent consultant Peter Crichton. "Movement restrictions in the UK have created a huge shortage of meat in the retail sector which is having to be sourced from abroad."

Imports have risen about 60p/kg to 180p/kg dw, for killed sides, across Europe, added Mr Crichton. "In Holland, values paid to producers are up 30p to 127p/kg and in Germany and Denmark prices are up 18p and 13p/kg. UK supplies are starting to trickle back, but throughput is still severely restricted."

However, the Dutch Meat Board said prices had climbed significantly before the foot-and-mouth crisis. "The latest problem to hit the UK has just added pressure to the market," said managing director, Robert Smith. In Ireland, export values of lamb and cattle to the UK have also risen significantly. Lamb prices leapt 70p/kg and cattle values rose by 13-15p/kg.

"The crisis has created extra demand," said a spokesperson for Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board. "It is mainly the multiples that are requesting bigger volumes, which has created the surge in values."

Smithfield meat wholesaler Philip Andrade of David Andrade and Sons told farmers weekly that he had to pay up to 50% more for imported pigmeat last week. "It is not just expensive loin cuts that have jumped in price; less glamorous manufacturing cuts have, too." Lamb imports also followed the trend, firming by about 40-50%, with most supplies coming from Ireland. &#42

Smithfield traders have seen imported meat prices jump sharply.