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Butchers urge people to buy locally in wake of horsemeat scandal
BUTCHERS are urging shoppers to buy local and ethically sourced meat in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.
With concern growing about criminal activity at the heart of the crisis, local traders say they are seeing an increase in customers who want to know where their food comes from.
George Tucker, of Quality Butchers in Dorchester, said business had increased since products labelled as ‘beef’ in supermarkets were found to contain up to 100 per cent horsemeat.
He said: “Business has increased, but like everything, people have short memories and they’ll probably be back in the supermarket again buying meat.”
Mr Tucker said the Maud Road butcher shop had a policy to know where everything came from.
He said: “Everyone should have things in place for full accountability. We’ve got it in place, why haven’t they?
“The Food Standards Agency is always keen to pick us up on the littlest thing.
“The big supermarkets shouldn’t slip the net.”
Norman Barnes, of Stevens Farm Shop in Martinstown, said the shop used its own beef and pork from the onsite farm and local lamb.
He said: “There’s not a horse in sight.
“My customers say they are concerned about being hoodwinked by the multiple outlets. Hopefully more people will begin buying local as opposed to multiples now there’s more concern.
“We use the same animals in the shop that we have on the same site and we use a local abattoir in Bridport.
“Our customers can see the animals and see their welfare right through to the point of the sale.
“They’re beginning to understand that our prices are not dissimilar to a big supermarket. I think the penny is dropping.”
Phil Frampton, of butchers Framptons of Bridport, said he thought local butchers could benefit in the long term from the horsemeat scandal.
He added: “If there’s a proper investigation it will do us a long-term benefit.
“The UK is not self-sufficient and that’s why we import meat.
“But when supermarkets give away a bottle of wine and two so-called finest cuts of meat and dessert for £10, they can sell it cheaper than what I can buy it for.
“Around Christmas, one of the big supermarkets was selling topside of beef for £5 a kilo when we’re paying £7 a kilo for it.”
Mr Frampton said there were information points around the shop so people could see where the meat came from.
He said: “We have a loyal customer base.
“People can talk to us behind the counter about where the meat comes from – the packet can’t talk, can it?”
South Dorset MP Richard Drax joined the call for people to buy local.
He said: “I’m a farmer myself and I would always urge everyone to buy local if they can.”
NFU PRESIDENT Peter Kendall said consumers can look for 100 per cent British meat and independent assurance marks like the Red Tractor logo on packs to give reassurance on where a product is from, and that it has been produced to clearly defined standards.
He said: “This incident is an issue of unregulated horse meat and mislabelling in the processing sector, and has nothing to do with UK-farmed products, but has everything to do with cheaper, imported meat products.
“Consumers should look to buy 100 per cent fresh British meat from British farmers who are committed to producing world class raw ingredients into the supply chain.”