30 June 2000

Telling the consumer why British pigs are way ahead

THE world class standards achieved by British pig producers will receive special attention at this years Great Yorkshire Show.

The Meat and Livestock Commission is joining forces with the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, local pig farmers and Ladies In Pigs to showcase the very best in British pig rearing practices compared with overseas production systems. A sow and litter will be included in the demonstration to attract adults and children alike.

"Our centrepiece will be the British quality standard mark, and what that represents in terms of food safety and the welfare benefits of British pork, bacon and ham," said Harrogate-based MLC industry relations manager Len Chamberlain.

"Consumer research shows the public thinks the most important elements of the assurance scheme are freedom for animals to move, plus the exclusion of meat and bonemeal from feed underpinned by an independent auditing of the system."

The demonstration will also highlight the MLCs current hard-hitting advertising campaign, which compares high-quality UK pig housing and welfare standards with production techniques in other parts of the world. A foretaste of the more traditional advertising campaign for pork, bacon and ham – planned for this autumn – will also be available.

The organisers regard the exhibit as a major opportunity to promote pork to non-farming show-goers as a healthy and appetising food.

"We will address misconceptions about fat intake in the diet. Simplistic beliefs that fat intake can be reduced by eating less meat have got to be countered at every opportunity," said Mr Chamberlain.

"Its important to target consumers not producers," he added. "The pork-buying public needs to know that the average pork chop bought in 1950 would have had a 30% fat content compared with a current level of about 4%."

But its not just pork that will be promoted at this years show.

"According to research, up to 93% of young women have been found to consume less than the recommended intake of iron and about one in five children suffers from iron deficiency," warns Mr Chamberlain.

"Yet, what is the best source of easily-absorbed iron in the diet? Red meat. And that, together with pork, is what we will be promoting at the show."

*If youre planning a visit to this years show, watch out for the giant Mr Sausage. An MLC creation, Mr Sausage is a 7ft high character designed to extol the benefits of the Great British Banger.