UK: Pig sector asks retailers for guarantee on illegal pork
As many as 40,000 pigs an hour are being delivered to continental processing plants from illegally-operated pig farms
A new web page from the National Pig Association will show whether food retailers and processors have pledged to stop sourcing pork meat produced illegally in the European Union.
Around 40% of pork products imported to the UK from elsewhere in the EU are illegal, following a ban on the prolonged confinement of sows in stalls, according to the UK trade body. The new rule came into force across the 27-nation bloc this month.
The National Pig Association (NPA) has set up an online 'hall of fame and shame', and written to retailers and processors in the UK to warn that they will be blacklisted on the website if they continue to source meat from pigs reared in stalls.
Up to 40,000 pigs an hour are being delivered to continental European processing plants from illegally-operated pig farms, according to NPA calculations.
"As Britain imports around 60% of its processed pork, it is inevitable that many consumers are unwittingly supporting this unacceptable European trade in illegally-farmed pigs," said NPA general manager Dr Zoe Davies.
"Shoppers must be told which British retailers and food companies they can trust not to take part in this trade."
To read just-food's interview with NPA chairman Richard Longthorp, click here.
Food manufacturers challenged over illegal imports
British pig farmers are challenging food manufacturers, retailers and caterers to give a public commitment that they are not selling illegally-produced meat from farms that are flouting new European welfare legislation outlawing the prolonged confinement of sows in individual cages, known as "stalls".
They have set up a website Wall-of-Fame-and-Shame which will list companies that have pledged to source imported pork products only from farms that are operating legally.
All companies selling imported pork and pork products are being urged by Britain's National Pig Association (NPA) to check their sources of supply very carefully.
"They must be absolutely certain the bacon, sausages, ham, pizzas and other processed pork they sell do not come from farms that are flouting European animal welfare law," says NPA.
Most European Union countries have failed to comply with the European Union's animal welfare directive which from January 2013 bans the prolonged confinement of sows in stalls. Individual sow stalls have been outlawed on British pig units for 14 years. They are so narrow, pigs cannot turn around — all they can do is sit, stand, and lie down.
As many as 40,000 pigs an hour are being delivered to continental processing plants from illegally-operated pig farms, according to NPA calculations.
"As Britain imports around 60 percent of its processed pork it is inevitable that many consumers are unwittingly supporting this unacceptable European trade in illegally-farmed pigs," said NPA general manager Dr Zoe Davies. "Shoppers must be told which British retailers and food companies they can trust not to take part in this trade."
Yorkshire pig farmer John Rowbottom, a member of NPA's policy-making Producer Group, said: "If Brussels cannot police its own rules, then British pig farmers will have to do the job for them. British consumers are being sold pork products from continental farms that are operating illegally.
"It's a gross breach of animal welfare, it is unfair on consumers and it is unfair on British farmers, because it distorts fair trade."
Original source: http://www.npa-uk.org.uk/Pages/Press_Releases.html
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