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Branded as British meat – but 1.6m tonnes comes from abroad

by 5m Editor
17 February 2007, at 11:20am

UK - Shoppers are buying a massive 1.6m tonnes of foreign meat a year as imports soar to a new high – and it can be passed off as British.

Today the Yorkshire Post launches a campaign for clearer food labelling so that consumers know the food they are buying is truly British.

Foreign meat does not have to be produced to the same high standards that this country's farmers adhere to.

Yet a staggering 1.1m tonnes of foreign pork, beef and lamb was imported to the UK in 2006 – up from 675,000 tonnes in 1995. In addition, 560,000 tonnes of poultry was imported last year.

But as UK farmers struggle, a loophole in the law allows foreign meat to be branded British. Food can be labelled as produced in whichever country it was processed last. Processing can simply be smoking bacon or curing ham.

Confusing food labels mean shoppers who are keen to buy British produce are unwittingly buying foreign meat.

The revelation comes amid growing fears over food entering the country following yesterday's news that bird flu discovered at the Bernard Matthews farm in Suffolk was probably brought to the country in a delivery of turkey meat from Hungary.

A spokesman for the British Poultry Council said: "There has definitely been an upward trend over the last 10 or 15 years when it comes to importing meat."

The Yorkshire Post's Clearly British campaign is calling for clear, unambiguous labelling of where the meat is from on the front of all packs and we will pile pressure on the Government to take action.

Source: Yorkshire Post

5m Editor