Asda ‘betrays UK farmers’ by importing turkeys

Asda has been accused of betraying British farmers by importing cheap turkeys from Brazil.

The retailer has shipped in more than 30,000 frozen birds over 6000 miles from South America to meet demand over the festive period.

But many customers are unaware of the origin of the turkeys, as the country of origin is only noted in small print on the backs of packs.

The Brazilian turkey crown is slightly cheaper, at £5.33/kg, than a frozen British equivalent, which costs the shopper £6.17/kg.

In recent weeks, Asda has boasted about having won an independent price comparison survey showing it was able to provide the cheapest Christmas dinner this year. But it appears part of this success is down to a reliance on cheap imports.

Asda will put fresh, all-British turkeys on sale from Saturday (19 December) at a higher price of £6.98/kg.

Charles Bourns, NFU Poultry Committee chairman, said Asda’s decision to import Brazilian turkeys was “shameful” and a “betrayal” of British producers.

“This is the latest blow for British turkey producers who have not had the support they need from the big supermarkets over many years,” he said.

“British turkey production has come down from around 49m birds a year 10 years ago to about 15-17m today. It is a very sad story.

“I am told by a supplier that Asda will probably make an extra £100,000 by bringing in turkeys from Brazil, which does not seem much given all the hassle involved.

“When we see that they have had to reject a significant number of the imported turkeys from Brazil it is easy to see the folly of the decision.

“It really is a shameful betrayal of British producers.”

Mr Bourns said he could understand why consumers would want to save £6 or £7 during a recession.

“But they should have clear labels so they know where it is from,”

An Asda spokesman said: “It’s the quality and taste of our food that we care about most, no matter where it comes from.”

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