UK supermarkets are hypocritical, and their continued sourcing of substandard goods from abroad is sabotaging British agriculture, said the Princess Royal during a lecture last Friday to students at the University of Plymouth‘s Seale-Hayne Agriculture department.

“Hypocrisy is not too strong a word to apply,” she said, describing how retailers overlook homegrown goods to accept lower hygiene and welfare standards from foreign producers.

“We need to say to the supermarkets and consumers that they are not always right and if they want standards in this country they must apply those standards to food from other countries,” she said.

A Tesco spokesman admitted to the Daily Telegraph that the UK’s largest retailer was shocked by the Princess’ comments: “We are surprised. We source a large part of our produce from the UK, for example 97% of our beef and 100% of our pork. Tesco is British farming’s biggest customer and we apply consistent quality standards both at home and abroad.”