Action averted over pigs

ACTION BY disgruntled pig farmers has been forestalled by signs that sales of British pork are on the up, according to PorkWatch chairman Richard Lister.

A campaign by the National Pig Association to make British pork more visible in supermarkets has finally started to bear fruit.

It was launched in July, when Tesco signed up to labelling guidelines making clear which meat was British, and which imports were produced to British welfare standards.

ASDA, Budgens and Sainsbury have since followed suit and the NPA believes there will be more by Christmas.

Mr Lister, who also farms pigs, said: “In recent weeks I have more or less continually had to persuade pig producers to refrain from direct action at retail distribution centres, and to urge them to wait until the latest PorkWatch results were known.

“That view seems to have been vindicated, and with goodwill on both sides, we can now move towards Christmas in a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation, which is how the pork chain should work.”

The NPA is in the final stages of drawing up a list of foreign pork producers that adhere to UK welfare standards.

The list will be available online in the new year, and it is hoped that consumers will use it as a “white list” of acceptable suppliers.

Many supermarkets already supply 100% British pork, but fail to label it fully. These include Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Morrisons and Budgens.

Stewart Houston, NPA chairman, said: “We are not asking for preferential treatment for British producers.

“We are asking for clarity of labeling so consumers can make an informed choice and we can compete against imports on an equal footing.”