13 October 2000

War of words over bacon branding

A DEVON pig farmer is to continue with a campaign to highlight what he claims is predatory pricing of Danish bacon in Tesco stores.

Robert Persey complained to the supermarket giant about its Danish bacon on sale in Honiton, Devon, which was labelled "Meets British and Tesco welfare codes of practice".

He argued that because the Assured British Pigs standards prohibited castration whereas it was standard practice in Denmark, the Danish bacon could not possibly meet British welfare codes.

But in his reply to Mr Persey, dated Sept 29, Tesco category director Steve Murrells stated: "On the welfare question Tesco has committed to sourcing pigs to equivalent standards on Tesco brand products from whichever country.

Export market

"It has been accepted that castration will continue in Denmark due to their large export market to Germany where castration is a legal requirement."

Mr Murrells went on to say: "In other welfare areas, and particularly in relation to stalls and tethers and meat and bonemeal, the Danish standards are equivalent. This does not mean all the standards are exactly the same, as legal requirements between EU states lead to subtle differences."

Mr Murrells letter added: "The wording of our information did not say that it meets British welfare codes, only the equivalent."

However, that reply is at odds with the facts on the labels about which Mr Persey complained to Tesco on Sept 24. They clearly stated: "Meets with British and Tesco welfare codes of practice." &#42