1 June 2000
Butchers slam pigmeat campaign
UK butchers have attacked the controversial advertising campaign promoting
British quality assured pork because they say it discriminates against them.
The National Federation of Meat & Food Traders, which represents thousands
of independent retail butchers, fears that the campaigns message that any
meat that does not carry the mark could sideline them.
An estimated 15% of British wholesalers do not comply with the Meat and
Livestock Commissions assurance scheme. Most of these are small operations
that supply independent butchers, which, according to the NFMFT, account for
20% of all UK pigmeat sales.
“Many of the small wholesalers chose not to be in the scheme because of the
costs associated with it. But if consumers get the message that they should
only look for the mark, it threatens these wholesalers and the butchers they
supply,” said NFMFT spokesman Graham Bidston.
The two adverts have been used to launch the 4.6m Meat and Livestock
Commission advertising campaign. They emphasise that only by buying pigmeat
carrying the mark can consumers be sure of meat from pigs not fed meat and
bonemeal and not from sows reared in confined housing.
But Mr Bidston points out British pigs that do not carry the mark
automatically comply with these standards as they are laid down by the law.
“All butchers should therefore be able to rely on supplies being of an
equivalent standard to that produced under the British Quality Assured Pork
scheme,” he said.
He said the solution for butchers is not as simple as just changing their
supplier to someone who is in the scheme.
“Butchers have built up their relationships with local suppliers over many
years. We do not want to see small butchers, wholesalers and farmers
affected by the advertising campaign.”
This criticism adds to the onslaught being waged against the campaign.
Supermarkets and processors have complained that the adverts could affect
consumption of all pork, while the Dutch and Danish pig industries have
described them as “xenophobic and inflammatory”.