20 October 1998
NZ concerned at Asda lamb ban

NEW ZEALANDS meat industry has reacted with concern to a move by a UK supermarket to stop selling chilled lamb for the rest of the year.

Asda said last week it would impose a ban.

Brian Lynch, of the NZ Meat Industry Association, which represents New Zealand exporters, said he expected Marks & Spencer (M&S), Tesco, Waitrose and Sainsbury to follow suit.

M&S said it had been working with UK suppliers to extend the season for British lamb, which normally ends in December, and it would not buy New Zealand lamb before January.

Neil Taylor, chief executive of Meat New Zealand, which promotes the trade, said the action by Asda and the others was “pandering” to UK farmers and had nothing to do with the quality of British lamb on the market – which he said was inferior to New Zealands chilled product.

New Zealand chilled, rather than frozen, lamb sells at a premium in the UK, but the exporter has limited supplies in an effort not to upset UK producers.