Monday, 4 March 2013

Buy British Meat

I’ve always ensured that any meat that I buy is British and diligently seek out the British Red Tractor mark (which assures the supply chain is legitimate and British), double-checking the stated country of origin if this can’t be found.

Buying British meat from supermarkets used to be straight-forward, but more recently I’ve had to scrutinise the fresh meat counters more carefully, as meat and poultry sourced from other countries has become more common.

On a recent trip to my local Tesco Metro, I endeavoured to buy some chicken pieces and pork chops, which in the past were always easy to find of British origin. However, the chicken pieces were all from Holland and Germany, and the pork chops from Denmark and Holland. I have noticed similar tendencies in other supermarkets too.

It’s not that I have any particular problem with these other countries specifically, It’s just that I don’t see why when there is perfectly good British meat available, we should turn our backs on our native farmers and import meat at a cost to the environment.

As the recent horsemeat scandal has shown, there is obviously a flaw in the regulation of meat from certain sources. I like to know the authenticity of the meat and poultry that I buy, to be assured of the correct rearing of the livestock and the appropriate standards with regard to handling of the products.

Whilst it’s often easy enough to see the country of origin listed on most fresh meat packaging, it’s not so obvious to read that for frozen meat (or associated meat products such as ready meals, but that’s another story). The last time I picked up a bag of frozen chicken breasts, I noted that the country of origin (in very small print on the back) was Argentina! I now tend to buy fresh meat and freeze it myself if needs be.

Of course, another way to buy your meat is from a respected, local butcher, whose credentials you can trust and who tends to stock more local produce.

Wherever and however you buy your meat and poultry, strive to buy British. Support our farmers, support our economy and rest assured of high standards buy looking for the Red Tractor Mark.

Stop Press! Just after I had written this blog post, Tesco announced that they are aiming to source their meat “closer to home”, with their stores only stocking British chicken from July. Don’t wait for July; make sure you only buy British as of now!

What are your thoughts on the subject?

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