15 January 1999

Pigmeat mark off

FARM minister Nick Brown this week backed a £2.5m campaign by the Meat and Livestock Commission to launch a new British Meat Quality Standard mark for pigmeat.

Mr Brown said he welcomed the initiative at what could be described as a time of crisis for the industry. And he dismissed concerns that consumers would be confused by another label, saying that they could be convinced that "this is the mark to look for".

In a series of presentations, MLC representatives explained their plans for the introduction of the new label. All the major retailers have given their support to the new mark which varies slightly according to product. It will be introduced onto retail packs of pork this month, and bacon and ham from next month.

Plans are in the pipeline for the mark to be extended to processed products, such as pies and sausages, and into the catering sector at a later date.

The launch of the mark was welcomed by pig industry leaders as a positive step in the fight to convince the consumer of the superiority of the British product in terms of pig health, hygiene and welfare.

Nick Brown joined MLCchairman Don Curry to launch the £2.5m scheme.