Militant pork producers have brought their campaign against cheap imported pork, which they claim violates the UK’s animal welfare standards, to the supermarket shelves and their main target appears to be Tesco. However, the nation’s largest supermarket operator denies the farmers’ allegations.
As supermarkets cut their pork prices in an on-going attempt to woo consumers, the price that producers receive for pig meat has dropped dramatically. UK producers are having to compete with the cheaper pork produced in the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium and France, where production costs are lower because farmers are still permitted to use stall and tether systems – which stop sows moving around – that were banned in the UK seven years ago.
Thousands of red warning stickers are being placed on pork, bacon, ham and sausages by the protestors to alert consumers to the issue.
However, Tesco spokesperson Richard Anderson told just-food that the supermarket chain is being unfairly singled out: “Tesco continues to buy and sell more British meat than any other retailer,” he observed.
“Sometimes we do have to import in order to meet customer demand, usually at key seasonal times such as Easter or in the BBQ season, but when we do we insist that our overseas suppliers meet the same standards as those in the UK.
“We continue to work with British farmers to develop new products for our customers that also benefit their businesses.”