28 May 1999

Poor response to proposal for pig executive

MEAT processors have reacted strongly to the Meat and Livestock Commissions proposals for a British Pig Executive (BPEX), saying that they do not go far enough.

"The plans are little different to the Pig Strategy Council," said Mark Adams, pig chairman for the British Meat Federation (BMF). "A more radical approach is needed."

The federation is particularly concerned about the possibility of under-representation of processors on the new body. It claims an even mix of producers and processors is needed to achieve the strongest possible marketing arm for the industry.

When the MLC outlined its proposals earlier in the month it suggested that there should be six producer members and one each from the BMF and British Meat Manufacturers Association (BMMA). But the BMF believes there should be only four producer members, with two representatives each from the BMF and BMMA.

In addition, the organisation believes that consideration should also be given to Food from Britain as an alternative to the MLC for developing export opportunities. The original proposal was for the MLCs Pork and Bacon Council (PBPC) to be responsible for marketing.

"Our stance is not is not an adversarial one or antagonistic one," said Mr Adams.

"We are seeking closer collaboration with others in the sector in order to achieve the co-operation that is essential if the pig and pigmeat industry is to make progress."

The BMMA is yet to finalise its response to the MLC, but a representative confirmed that members were likely to back BMF views.

John Godfrey, chairman of the British Pig Association, said it was possible that the opposition could mean the new body fell flat before it even started. "It may do – well just have to find out."

But an MLC spokesman insisted that it was too early to draw any conclusions. The whole point of the consultation process was to listen to industry views, he said. &#42