By FWi staff

A WELSH meat company has been accused of betraying livestock producers at a time when market prices are the lowest for a decade.

Peredur Hughes, vice-president of NFU Cymru-Wales, made an outspoken attack on Caernarfon-based Cwmni Cig Arfon, which is part owned by Welsh farmer investors, over its use of Irish beef.

“I have told the company of our deep disappointment that they are processing hindquarters of Irish beef when supplies could, and indeed should, be sourced from the home market,” said Mr Hughes.

“Traceability and consumer confidence is all important.

“I have called upon Cwmni Cig Arfon to abandon the policy of bringing in imported beef, even if it is only a small percentage of the total of meat processed at the factory.”

Company directors have reacted angrily to Mr Hughes comments.

The use of Irish beef came to light when the lorry carrying it from Holyhead overturned on 18 December, 2000.

Managing director Melfyn Ellis said the consignment was needed for a very busy sales period when the abattoir was already working to capacity.

“We killed a record number of 414 cattle that week and could not have handled any more so, as we have to do occasionally, we bought beef from outside Wales to meet customers specifications, including price.

“Less than 2% of the beef we processed last year was bought in, but we handled over 13,000 cattle from 550 Welsh producers.

“We have done as much as anybody to market and promote Welsh and British beef and we plan to extend our cutting facilities this year,” he added.