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Supermarkets Shun Scottish Pork and Chicken

by 5m Editor
27 January 2011, at 11:30am

SCOTLAND, UK - An investigation of supermarket shelves carried out by NFU Scotland has shown the major retailers Tesco and Asda shunning home produced pork and chicken in favour of cheap imports.

By comparison, Morrisons continued to demonstrate a considerable commitment to Scottish and British produce.

With pig and poultry prices in Europe collapsing, yesterday’s investigation revealed that Tesco and Asda appear to have taken the opportunity to stock up on pork and chicken from overseas. While pork and chicken from Denmark and Holland are regularly imported, the worrying discovery was significant stocks of meat from France, Germany, and Northern Ireland.

This disappointing development in retailer practices comes a day after NFU Scotland called on major retailers to renew their commitment to stocking home produced pork and bacon at a time when all pig producers face an unparalleled increase in the price of feed for their animals.

NFU Scotland President, Jim McLaren said, “Pig and poultry producers across the country have faced an astronomical increase in their feed costs. At the very time when we need UK supermarkets to stand by UK producers, this quick look at the shelves has found Tesco and Asda appearing to shun producers here while making the most of the opportunities presented by the collapse in prices seen in Europe.

“Given the level of costs our pig and poultry farmers currently face and the standards of animal welfare they consistently deliver – standards that are often, by law, well ahead of those found in Europe – they deserve genuine, long-term commitment from their major customers. Instead, today’s treatment by some retailers is scandalous, shocking and well short of what Scotland’s pig and poultry farmers deserve.

“The amount of home-produce found on some shelves today was bitterly disappointing and casts a shadow over the routine claims of support for Scottish and British food and farming that these retailers regularly make. To rub salt into the wound, the Tesco store we visited was proudly displaying a Specially Selected Scotch Pork banner on a shelf of pigmeat sourced from France, Holland and Northern Ireland. That is unacceptable and we have raised the matter with both Quality Meat Scotland and Tesco themselves.

“Those discussions with Tesco have been frank and reassurances have been given that a significant improvement in the volumes of Scottish pork appearing on its shelves can be expected in the coming weeks. We will look to hold them to that.

“The good news from today’s investigation was that, when visited, Morrisons’ shelves were very well stocked with British pork and chicken. Much of it was on special offer and we would hope that those supplying these stores are still securing a fair margin for their produce given the significant hike in their production costs.”