NFU to hold crisis talks with Asda over milk and beef

The NFU is to hold crisis talks with Asda, amid growing controversy over the company’s dealings with its farmer suppliers.

Farmers claim the retailer is undermining milk prices and selling beef imported from Brazil that does not comply with British farm assurance standards.

NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond is due to meet senior ASDA executives on Monday (12 June).

He plans to raise concerns about the supermarket’s aggressive price-cutting policies on milk which the industry believes are de-stabilising the milk market and putting the future of the dairy industry at risk.

“Asda has made much of its commitment to British farmers, and we are keen to work with them to develop their supply arrangements to the benefit both of Asda customers and its farmer suppliers,” said Mr Raymond.

“But ASDA does need to understand, by slashing the price of a four pint container of milk, it has undermined the market for value-added, branded liquid milks being marketed by their supply group, Arla Foods.

“This in turn has been a major factor in the swingeing price cuts that have this week been imposed on Arla/Asda milk suppliers.”

On the beef issue, Mr Raymond said Asda has repeatedly assured the industry that all of the imported beef sold in their stores was reared to British farm assured standards.

“Yet we now have clear evidence that Asda has sold beef from Brazil that does not comply with British standards of farm assurance or traceability. 

“In the light of concerns over the disease status of Brazilian beef and poor standards of animal identification, this must be a cause for genuine concern.

“I shall be asking for a clear commitment that this practice will stop immediately, and no further non-assured imported beef will be sold through Asda stores.”