MAR 6, 2013: NFU President Peter Kendall has urged supermarkets to ‘stop scouring the world for the cheapest products they can find’ and start sourcing ‘high quality, traceable, products’ from British farmers.
Mr Kendall called for a ‘fair, transparent and safe’ UK supply chain. The NFU president said there were three initial lessons from the horse meat scandal so far. “First, we’ve learnt that it’s nonsense when retailers claim they can sell eight beefburgers for a pound and maintain complete transparency about what’s in their products and where it comes from,” he said. “Second, it’s clear that the longer a supply chain and the more borders it crosses, the less traceable our food is and the more the chain is open to negligence at best, fraud and criminal activity at worst. “Third, the great British consumer prefers to know they are eating great British food, food produced with passion and pride by British farmers and growers.” Mr Kendall said he spoke for all farmers “when I say that I am furious about what has happened”, given the hoops they have to go through to sell meat to UK retailers. Hard-pressed farmers later said they could be driven out of business if they are forced to pay for tighter regulation and testing as a result of the horsemeat scandal. Charles Sercombe, chairman of the NFU’s livestock board, told the conference: “Profit margins on beef are wafer thin and not sufficient to bear additional costs.”