22 May 1998

No U-turn on pigmeat policy – Tesco

TESCO has moved swiftly to scotch rumours of a U-turn on their policy to source all imported pigmeat from non-stall and tethers systems after Jan 1, 1999, when the systems are banned in the UK.

The claims were made by pig producers after visiting the Tesco stand at the Pig and Poultry Fair, Stoneleigh, Warwicks, last week.

Producers contacted farmers weekly concerned that they had heard rumours of Tescos intent to continue importing pigmeat produced under stalls and tethers systems. And, that Tescos target date of Jan 1, 1999 for sourcing non stalls and tethers pigmeat had been postponed. But Tesco meat director, Andrew Batty, said: "While we have experienced some difficulty in sourcing stalls- and tethers-free pigmeat and will miss our original target date of August for banning stalls and tethers-produced meat, we will be 100% compatible by Jan 1, 1999.

"And there is no question of a U-turn on policy. We aim to ensure that all Tesco pigmeat products are produced in systems which meet UK welfare standards before Jan 1, 1999.

But Mr Batty said that Tesco had no control over production methods for pre-packed, imported pigmeat products which are sold to all supermarket chains in the UK. "This pigmeat could be produced under any system. We, and the other supermarkets, have no power over production methods," he said.

Nevertheless Tesco contacted their overseas suppliers this week, and the companys corporate affairs director, David Sawday, assured FW that pork was 100% British and 92% of bacon was under Tescos label and guaranteed stalls and tethers free.

"The remaining 8% is either Danepak, Kerry Foods or Tulip brand and we have assurances that all three are already stalls and tethers free," said Mr Sawday. &#42