16 March 2001

Meat supplies resume

BRITISH meat supplies are getting back into the food chain, but some animal types are doing better than others.

Pig meat supplies averaged 64% of pre-foot-and-mouth levels in the first week of the licensed slaughter scheme, the Meat and Livestock Commission estimates. Cattle reached 48% and lamb was just 25% of normal throughput.

Initial figures for this week suggest similar trends. Pig kill reached 78% of pre-foot-and-mouth levels on Tuesday, with cattle also up at 48%, and sheep marginally higher at 30% of pre-crisis levels.

A few big sheep and cattle abattoirs are still not slaughtering because their units are integrated cutting and packing plants. The MLC predicts that average weekly kills will probably remain the same although there could be day-to-day fluctuations.

Meanwhile, further export bans have been placed on EU raw meat products and live animals. The latest country to announce a temporary halt is New Zealand, following a bar from the US, Canada, Switzerland and Norway.

Some dislocation of EU markets is expected, although the confused nature of the current trade makes any predictions hard to judge. &#42