Polish farms owned by US company Smithfield Foods have been accused of “appalling” animal welfare practices by Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), the lobby group which conducted an undercover investigation into standards and practices. The farms in question have been run by Animex, a subsidiary of Smithfield, since 2002.

The food corporation supplies pork to British supermarkets including Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Tesco under the Morliny, Animex and PEK chopped pork brands. The company also supplies a range of Polish Wiejska pork sausages to Waitrose and Harrods.

The CIWF investigation found shocking conditions where hundreds of pigs, including the sick and injured, are crammed into windowless barns. Dead animals are left to rot on the ground.

In order to combat the physical stresses created by intensive farming practices the animals are fed an intensive cocktail of drugs and antibiotics, many of which are banned or considered to be growth-promoters in other countries. One such growth-inducing drug is Tylbian 20%, a form of the drug Tylosin, which was banned in by the European Union in 1999.

Waitrose has suspended the sale of Polish Pork while an investigation into the claims is conducted.

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“We have high standards of animal welfare,” a Waitrose spokesperson told just-food. “We are investigating whether either of our two delicatessen products sourced from Poland are affected and have suspended their sale until the investigation is concluded.”