Caterers promise to sell only ‘legal’ pork

BRITAIN’S FOUR major food organisations have pledged to the Government that they will not sell pork and pork products from illegal pig farms when the European partial stalls ban is introduced on January 1 next year.


The British Retail Consortium, the Food and Drink Federation, the British Hospitality Association and the British Meat Processors Association all made promises following months of campaigning by the British pig industry.


The National Pig Association welcomed the news which will prevent pork from illegal farms appearing on British supermarket shelves, on restaurant menus and in brand-name products.


The European Commission fears as many as a third of continental pig producers will be unable to meet the January 2013 deadline to get sows out of stalls, except for the first four weeks of pregnancy.


In Britain, where pig producers conform to higher welfare standards, stalls have been wholly banned for 13 years.


Following this week’s stakeholder meeting with Jim Paice, Stewart Houston, chairman of the British Pig Executive, said the industry would now discuss the various pledges that had been made in more detail, to ensure they will be honoured.


The British Retail Consortium has indicated that it was keen to avoid the sharp price rises that followed the introduction of Europe’s battery cage ban in January this year.


The NPA said British producers would be ready to prevent unnecessary price rises for consumers by providing any additional pork required — but they would need advance commitment from retailers.


A report by BPEX suggests the lack of compliance could result in market disruptions. Senior analyst at the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, Stephen Howarth, said the experience of the egg sector shows that it is “very likely” that the regulations will have a major impact on the EU pig meat market.