1 September 2000

National event aim is to promote top production levels

THE first National Festival of Meat, intended to boost British meat sales, will be staged at Smithfield Market in London on Sat Dec 2.

The event, organised by the Royal Smithfield Club in association with the Royal Smithfield Show, aims to bring together producers, abattoirs, processors, retailers and consumers to promote top standards of British beef, lamb and pork carcass production.

"Its the first time in decades that the whole British meat industry has come together to take part in a single exhibition to highlight the best of British quality meat from throughout the UK," said the Royal Smithfield Clubs chief executive Geoff Burgess.

Carcass contest

The event will include a carcass competition open to traditional livestock exhibitors and other farmers who are members of producer clubs.

Carcasses from throughout the UK will be delivered to Smithfield Market for judging on Dec 1 along with carcasses from livestock exhibited at the Royal Smithfield Show.

Leading processors, including Scotbeef, Northern Meats, Anglo Beef Processors and St Merryn, are joining forces to help farmer competitors have their stock presented at this prestigious event.

Carcasses will be displayed within the market stalls at Smithfield Market on Dec 2 when stall holders will open their traditional Christmas sales to the public during the festival. Adding to the winter fair atmosphere, several leading high street retailers will be taking part in the event.

Proceeds from the festival will be donated to leading childrens charity Barnardos who will be represented by children singing Christmas carols. "We are delighted to be taking part in this high profile event. All donations will be used to help children in London and East Anglia enjoy a better future," said a spokeswoman.

The festival will culminate with a national Festival of Meat Dinner for 250 guests at which the champion carcasses will be auctioned. The gala dinner will also see the announcement and presentation of the first winner of the Royal Smithfield Clubs Bicentenary Trophy to the person, or organisation who has made the most significant contribution for the benefit of the British Meat Livestock Industry.

Royal Smithfield Club chairman Sir Richard Cooper said: "The objective of the festival is to focus for one day on the positive messages in which our industry abounds and thus to help further build confidence within the industry and indeed with the public in our capital city."

Three cheers for British meat…Royal Smithfield Club chief executive Geoff Burgess (centre) discusses the National Festival of Meat with the Lackham College team, pictured with its flagship herd of British Limousin cattle.