Demand for UK meat could be undermined by treated imports

A post-Brexit deal allowing imports of chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-treated beef could have a damaging knock-on effect on the UK meat sector, according to research.

Carried out by YouGov, the survey showed the introduction of these products could reduce the demand for domestic meat.

See also:Food imports must meet UK standards, say MPs  

Of the 1,000 people surveyed more than half said they would buy less chicken and beef if any meat treated in this way hit UK supermarket shelves.

Just 28% of poultrymeat buyers said they would continue to buy the same amount and only 29% of shoppers said they would eat as much beef.

More than 80% said it would have some impact on their shopping habits.

About 83% said they would examine labelling more thoroughly and three-quarters of shoppers would look more closely at production methods.

Consumer choice

David Swales, AHDB head of strategic insight said: “There is an argument that given clear labelling these products would offer consumers more choice.

“But the research suggests there is a danger that rather than try to fathom the labels, shoppers may lose confidence in the whole category.”

Mr Swales added that chlorine-treated chicken and hormone-laced beef could be cheaper, putting home-produced meat at a disadvantage on price.

“As a key driver of shopper behaviour, there may be calls for these practices to be introduced in the UK to allow farmers to compete on a level playing field.”