British Meat Processors Association
British Meat Processors Association

Live Updates

BMPA updates, as they happen, on developing issues in the meat industry.

Key Highlights

Contains links to member only content.

5 Jul

Election: Time for a new approach to Britain’s food security

Towards the end of the last parliament, it was frustratingly clear that government had stopped listening to and engaging with companies operating in the strategically important business of providing food for the nation. British food security had been overlooked by policy makers who were simply not taking a joined-up approach to immigration, skills, labour, trade barriers and a plethora or other issues that, together, are preventing the industry from functioning optimally.

In preparation for a new government, BMPA has already been engaging with the Labour party to raise the issues our industry is most sensitive to, and over the next few days, we’ll find out who will be the people chosen to take on the ministries that have a direct bearing on meat processing. At that point, BMPA is ready to present a vision for the future of the British meat industry and the part our new political leaders need to play in Britain’s future food security.

What this new government does from now will form their legacy, and it’s our intention to help ensure that part of that legacy is a secure domestic food supply chain that can withstand the geopolitical and climate challenges of the future

4 Jul

Food Security: Labour’s looming Food Security challenge

In the run-up to the election Labour made significant promises to bolster the nation’s food security. They said that “food security is national security” and pledged to champion British farming while protecting the environment. They also aim for 50% of food in public institutions to be locally sourced or produced to higher environmental standards. These pledges come at a critical time as global food supplies have been increasingly impacted by geopolitical conflicts, extreme weather events, and rising costs.

But, speaking to Carbon Brief, Professor Tim Lang said that food security is “very low on the political agenda” and that “Politicians really don’t yet get how important and how fragile the food system is.” He believes “We need a national council of food policy” but also cautions that “We have got to get a grip on the runaway food manufacturing industry.”

The election manifestos reflect an acknowledgment of the critical importance of food security, yet there is consensus among experts and industry leaders that more needs to be done. Labour now face the challenge of implementing these pledges and addressing the complex interplay of climate change, geopolitical instability, and economic pressures that threaten the UK’s food supply. Carbon Brief have an interesting overview of the issues and challenges that lie ahead, including a novel graphic showing how land is currently allocated in the UK, and how much overseas land is used to produce food for the UK.

Read more

4 Jul

Food Safety: Chris Elliott sounds wake-up call for new government

Leading food scientist Professor Chris Elliott has sounded a series of stark warnings on the state of Britain’s food safety. In an address to the recent Chartered Trading Standards Industry conference, Professor Elliott spoke of the gradual ‘decimation’ of the UK’s food safety as enforcement resources have been hollowed-out and a free market approach to food supply has lead to an increasing reliance on imports.

Professor Elliott described the increasing likelihood that the UK will be targeted by criminals. He said: “I know a company based in Spain who have taken the decision not to import anything into the UK anymore because it’s not a big enough market for them to deal with the amount of paperwork. If the good guys stop wanting to import stuff, the bad guys will step in, because the UK will be a much easier touch than Europe”.

Food Manufacture’s Bethan Grylls has an excellent write-up of Chris Elliott’s presentation.

Read more

28 Jun

Election: Nick Allen outlines BMPA’s asks from next government

We hear it from most quarters of the food industry in Britain: government has stopped listening to and engaging with companies operating in the strategically important business of providing food for the nation. Ahead of the election, Just Food Magazine’s Andy Coyne sounded out representatives from across the industry.

The overriding message was that British food security has been overlooked by policy makers who are simply not taking a joined-up approach to immigration, skills, labour, trade barriers and a plethora or other issues that, together, are preventing the industry from functioning optimally. You can read Nick Allen’s comments along with those of other industry leaders in Andy’s latest article.

Read more

26 Jun

Politics: Labour’s Steve Reed talks farming commitments to BBC

Farming today have been conducting a series of interviews to find out what commitments to the food and farming industry each political party is making. Wednesday was the turn of Steve Reed, Labour’s shadow Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs.

Promises include sticking with ELMS but improving how it works, although Mr Reed couldn’t say how funding might be cut, increased or re-assigned before Labour has had sight of data showing how it’s currently working to improve food production.

He did categorically say that Labour have “got no plans whatsoever to introduce the scheme in England that was introduced in Wales” which prompted recent farmer protests. He also promised to remove bureaucratic trade friction at borders, “no more dodgy trade deals” like the Australia/NZ ones, and a commitment to 50% of publicly procured food to be sourced from British producers.

Listen (from 6:10 minutes)

26 Jun

AHDB: Full Red Meat Exports Conference presentation

Following AHDB’s recent Red Meat Export Conference we’ve now received the full slide deck presentation. It has an update on AHDB’s market access work showing progress and hurdles in each overseas market. There’s also a section on the new “Quality Meat From Britain” branding due to be rolled out this year and a look at key halal markets.

View the presentation

21 Jun

Borders: Latest Defra help and resources to avoid problems with the BTOM

Defra has released the latest in its series of resources to help importers to navigate the new border rules and avoid mistakes, especially ‘no match’ errors on paperwork that can cause delays. Defra and HMRC have produced a step-by-step video and technical information sheets on how to prevent and resolve a ‘no ‘match’ in the Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

Read more

20 Jun

Exports: Global meat consumption set to rise. Can UK meet demand?

AHDB’s Red Meat Export Conference revealed some interesting projections on worldwide red meat consumption which is set to increase over 10% between now and 2032. With meat production in the EU set to decline this year, opportunities for UK exports could open up. But production looks like it could be constrained with livestock numbers set to fall and a persistent shortfall in the number of meat industry workers.

Chen Wei, president of the China Meat Association, who presented at the event revealed that, while market access has been difficult to obtain in the past, new government policy scheduled for later this year should expedite the process of importing meat into China. We’re waiting for slides and documents from the conference to be released, which we’ll post on the Members’ Portal as soon as we get them. In the mean time Farmer’s Weekly has a round-up.

Read more

20 Jun

Brexit: Labour’s plans could mitigate but not reverse economic damage to economy

New analysis out this week from UK in a Changing Europe has looked at the impact on trade that Labour’s plans for closer alignment with the EU could have. While it shows a veterinary agreement could lead to a 22.5% increase in agri-food exports and a 5.6% increase in imports, the report concedes that, in the context of the estimated two to four percent hit to GDP caused by Brexit: “Any gains from technical improvements will be relatively minimal: useful in reducing trade frictions, but not enough to really address the continuing economic impacts of Brexit.”

Still, a 22.5% uplift in food exports is better than a poke in the eye. Less trade friction would certainly ease some of the inflationary pressures on UK food supply by removing a lot of the extra cost associated with increased bureaucracy, which has to be good for British shoppers.

The report looks in more detail at what kind of agreement provisions would be needed to maintain flexibility to adapt to regulatory changes. It also explores options for mutual recognition of specific product standards and testing procedures. It’s looking increasingly likely that a veterinary agreement will serve as a potential test case for future negotiation so Labour will be keen to get legal framework right. The authors suggest a ‘supplementing agreement’ to the existing UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) which could leverage existing structures for monitoring and implementation, thus avoiding the need to renegotiate the TCA.

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13 Jun

Election: Labour’s workforce plans

Labour’s manifesto document doesn’t give any new detail about their planned workforce reform but, instead, points to previously announced plans: “Labour’s Plan to Make Work Pay: Delivering a New Deal for Working People.”

Key commitments include a new national minimum wage for all ages that reflects the prevailing cost of living; ‘family friendly rights’ and flexible working to be made the default for all workers ‘except where it is not reasonably feasible’; strengthened sick pay entitlements; removal of ‘unnecessary restrictions on trade union activity’ and a new single-status of worker that ‘differentiates between workers and the genuinely self-employed.’ You can download the full document “Labour’s Plan to Make Work Pay”.

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13 Jun

Deforestation: Implication of new EU rules for UK companies

From 30 December 2024 it will be unlawful for all large companies with over 250 employees to place products onto the EU market (which in this instance includes Northern Ireland) that involve deforestation in their supply chain. Shipments of meat, frozen food, ready meals and other products going into grocery, hospitality and food service could be blocked or confiscated and a fine of up to 4% of annual EU turnover levied on businesses that fall foul of the new rule.

The EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) will mandate a due diligence statement that must include evidence of a risk assessment and risk mitigation. Lawyers from international law firm Fieldfisher have written an article outlining the steps that food manufacturers should take to prepare. These include conducting a scoping assessment to identify affected commodities, establishing robust data collection systems, ensuring contractual safeguards, screening suppliers rigorously, and forecasting stock needs.

Read more

13 Jun

Podcast: Nick Allen tells New Food Magazine meat industry’s top concerns

Ahead of the election, Nick Allen, CEO of the British Meat Processors Association sat down with New Food Magazine’s Josh Minchin and Grace Galler to discuss the key concerns our industry is facing and how we’d like to see politicians tackle them.

Part of the big picture is the declining number of livestock, even as the UK population continues to grow. This translates into a heavier reliance on imported meat to keep up with demand and a consequent weakening of Britain’s food security. Nick expands on the causes of this including changes to farming subsidies that have removed the safety net for farmers and driven them to either quit or move away from food production.

He also reviews how Brexit has impacted the industry saying: “All our members have seen since Brexit is increased cost. And sooner or later that cost has to be picked up by someone. Either the farmer gets paid less … or the consumer has to pay more, or it eats into margins.” At the moment, processors are picking up much of the extra cost, paying historically high livestock prices but not being able to pass that cost on to the supermarkets. But that can’t continue indefinitely.

Government has a choice to make. Design subsidies and incentives around improving sustainable food production or risk a ‘leave it to the markets’ approach which will see more of our food supply sourced offshore. Nick sees it as a basic societal issue, not simply a supply chain issue.

The podcast also deals with labour issues that are besetting the food industry and also with the pressure that ill-thought-through free trade agreements, like the one we’ve struck with Australia, put further pressure on Britain’s food producers.

Perhaps the key message to whoever forms the next government is to properly consult with industry before forming policies and agreeing deals. Without the input of those on-the-ground people and companies who are on the frontline of food production, it’s easy to miss complexities and detail that can have a long tail of negative consequences if they’re ignored by policymakers.

Listen to the podcast

7 Jun

AHDB: Progress report on the Beef & Lamb Roadmap

The AHDB Beef and Lamb sector steering group, of which BMPA is a member, represented by Lucas Daglish, is currently working on a comprehensive Environment Roadmap to tackle the pressing challenge of sector-related climate change. The roadmap will consolidate ongoing environmental initiatives, aiming to showcase the sector’s current status, future ambitions, and strategies for achieving significant environmental improvements. By documenting and verifying progress, the roadmap will seek to enhance the sector’s reputation both domestically and internationally, incentivise further advancements, and ensure effective regulation and policies.

Developed under the guidance of a diverse Steering Group appointed by AHDB, the roadmap will emphasise leadership, accurate measurement and verification, greenhouse gas reduction, carbon sequestration, and robust communication. The next phase will focus on implementation, relying on collaboration across the entire beef and lamb supply chain. This collective effort is crucial to achieving our shared vision for a sustainable future. You can view a progress summary in the BMPA Members’ Portal to see where work on the Roadmap is up to and what the next steps will be.

View the summary

7 Jun

Trade: New FDF Trade Snapshot a mixed picture

The first quarter of 2024 saw overall exports of food and drink fall by 5.3% year on year by value and 20.3% by volume. However this masked a rise in the volume of beef exports and a steeper rise in the value of lamb exports despite a fall in volume. The report gives an interesting overview of how exports to and imports from our top twenty markets have risen or fallen year on year.

View the report

3 Jun

Workforce: GMB Union boss and CBI boss make strange bedfellows on immigration

“The truth is we need migrant workers in our economy.” Not something you’d expect to hear from the boss of one of the UK’s biggest unions, but Gary Smith is looking pragmatically at a Labour’s latest proposals on migration. Both he and other business leaders across the spectrum acknowledge that we need properly targeted migrant workers to fill stubborn skills gaps where British trainees are either unwilling or geographically unable to take up positions. The meat industry is a good example of such a scenario. We need to supplement the UK workforce with overseas workers.

But, stifling the ability of the food industry to produce food domestically comes with consequences that could be more serious than, for example, stifling the influx of overseas students and their family members. If we don’t have the manpower to produce our own food, we have a food security issue that leaves the country more dependent on imports and more vulnerable to supply chain shocks.

It’s not just our industry that has been sounding the alarm on recent changes to immigration policy. There’s a growing chorus of sectors that are warning that closing off access to overseas workers by hiking the minimum salary level required beyond what an equivalent UK worker is being paid will result in unintended consequences. Either companies could move production offshore (so British industry and workers both lose out) or companies will have to hike prices to pay for increased overheads. In our case, that will mean food inflation for British consumers.

We need politicians to stop using immigration for political point-scoring and start taking a pragmatic, granular approach to ensure we get the skills and workers where they’re needed most.

Read more

31 May

Election: Promises to the food industry so far

Announcements and pledges so far on key issues that affect our industry haven’t got much meat on the bones yet, but there are some encouraging noises.

Most notably, Labour are sticking to their pledge to reduce trade friction by instigating a new veterinary agreement with the EU. They’ve also said they would ask the Migration Advisory Committee to review the Conservative’s new foreign worker visa rules including the increased salary threshold which Sadiq Khan has branded an “economic own goal…in order to look tough on immigration.” But, any easing of the new rules would come with strings attached to ensure firms try to source labour locally first.

The Liberal Democrats have generally advocated for a more flexible immigration system that meets the needs of the UK economy. They have previously criticised the government’s handling of Brexit and its impact on the farming sector, emphasising the need for stable and fair trade agreements and a sensible immigration policy that supports the agricultural workforce, including maintaining lower thresholds for sectors with critical shortages.

We found a very useful Immigration Policy Tracker from the Migration Advisory Committee that sets out the policy differences between Labour and Conservative proposals. We’ve also considered what BMPA would like to see from an incoming government in our latest article.

Read more

31 May

Industry: New Meat Business Women campaign showcases “The Power of Us”

At their recent conference Meat Business Women unveiled a new campaign to attract more women into the sector. Apart from showing the meat industry as a great place to work, it taps into a prospective area of the workforce that we’ve traditionally under-utilised, and provides a tangible vision of what a career in the meat industry could look like for women.

The conference and campaign tackle the issues that can discourage women from entering and progressing in the industry, highlighting key initiatives for example around menopause and parental issues. You can watch the campaign video here.

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30 May

Halal: How Brexit has influenced the UK’s halal market

Following a report by the Halal Monitoring Committee Hassan Jivraj of Salaam Gateway talks to sources across the industry including BMPA’s Trade Policy Advisor, Peter Hardwick, and BMPA member Rizvan Khalid of Euro Quality Lambs about the impact Brexit has had on the growing £1.7 billion halal meat and poultry sector.

The article explores regulatory divergence from (often) stricter EU rules, halal certification and, more worryingly, the warning from Mr Khalid that “demand for halal meat is growing but livestock supply is not keeping up.” Nor is the UK keeping pace with our competitors like Australia, New Zealand and Canada, which have championed national halal marks and improved transparency and trust with tighter legislation. These missed trade opportunities are explored in the report and discussed in the article.

Read more

23 May

Trade: Could Labour block closer trading relationship with the EU?

The Labour Party aims to secure a new agreement with the EU to alleviate trade disruptions, address the Northern Ireland border issue, and simplify regulations for farmers via a new SPS agreement. But, EU officials have indicated that such a deal would necessitate European Court of Justice (ECJ) oversight—a condition that conflicts with Labour’s stance against the UK being a “rule-taker.”

This requirement poses a significant political dilemma for Keir Starmer, as it risks alienating Labour’s Brexit-supporting voters, and might complicate future trade deals with countries like the United States. A recent Politico article explores the red lines and trade-offs involved.

Read more

23 May

Vets: Competition and Markets Authority launches full enquiry

The CMA has today confirmed its decision to launch a market investigation into the veterinary sector. Should they find sufficient grounds, the potential remedies include mandating the provision of certain information to consumers, imposing maximum prescription fees and ordering the sale or disposal of a business or assets – all of which are legally enforceable. The CMA can also make recommendations to government – for example, suggesting changes to the regulatory framework.

It’s not clear yet how wide the investigation will range, with the emphasis being placed on domestic animal vets and practices in the initial announcement. We’ll monitor future details about the scope of the inquiry as they emerge to see if impacts our industry.

Read more

23 May

Borders: National Audit Office exposes shortcomings of new border system

The National Audit Office has published a new report revealing that the introduction of new border checks hasn’t gone well and is costing more than expected. We’ve written about our industry’s concerns over the new system before but this article from the Guardian’s Jack Simpson explains the NAO’s findings; chiefly that there has been no coordination between government departments and a lack of a ‘clear timetable and an integrated cross-government delivery plan’.

On the subject of implementing an effective trade border, the Public Accounts Committee will be taking oral evidence as part of their inquiry from a heavy-hitting line up of witnesses. You’ll hear from NFU, Horticultural Trades Association, British Ports Association and Logistics UK. Then later from HMRC, Defra, Border Force at Home office and the Cabinet Office. We look forward to hearing what they have to say. Starts 3:30pm 3 June ’24.

23 May

Borders: Importers hit with undisclosed costs and misleading estimates

Almost a month on from the introduction of the new Border Target Operating Model, importers are discovering that Defra’s original estimates of ‘minimal’ cost impact and a cap of £145 per truckload isn’t quite right. BMPA’s trade experts have uncovered additional fees that were never properly explained and are over and above the Common User Charge originally publicised. The additional Port Health Charges through Dover and Eurotunnel amount to a double whammy for importers and are yet another post-Brexit cost that will inevitably be passed on to consumers.

Read more

17 May

Pig Industry: BMPA’s response to ‘fairer labelling’ consultation

Lucas Daglish, BMPA’s Sustainability Manager, has just posted our response to the government’s ‘Fairer Food Labelling’ consultation for the pig industry. We have some concerns, not leas that there are a series of glaring omissions and errors in the consultation questionnaire.

In a letter to Defra Lucas says that there are “numerous assumptions which overlook the intricate complexities of pig production and processing and demonstrate a disappointing lack of understanding and knowledge of the sector”. He also states that: “We believe that the current proposal lacks alignment with consumer interests and could exacerbate existing challenges within the supply chain, particularly in the pig sector. Stability is paramount before introducing further complexity and regulation.”

You can read the letter to Defra and the full consultation response in the BMPA Members’ Portal.

Read more

17 May

Environment: New 5 year pilot to calculate farming’s true carbon footprint

AHDB and Quality Meat Scotland are to invest a combined £2,875,000 of levy-payers’ money into a major new research project to calculate agriculture’s true environmental impact including emissions and sequestrations. They’re currently recruiting farms to join the five year pilot.

As the race for a universally accepted system of measurement for use in eco labelling gathers pace, credible primary data like this will be vital to ensure the industry gets treated fairly.

Read more

16 May

Workforce: Vets join call for skilled worker visa re-think

Since it was announced in last year, we’ve been warning that the Government’s new £38,700 minimum salary requirement for skilled worker visas will cause major problems for industries across the board. Now the new rule is live, we’re hearing more and more calls for a re-think, including from HSBC, Deloittes and KPMG this week. Closer to home, the British Veterinary Association and Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons have also raised the red flag by writing to Steve Barclay entreating him to reconsider the changes.

With a sharp decline in the number of vets coupled with a sharp rise in the amount of work for them to do post-Brexit, the profession is facing a critical staffing issue. We advocated recently for a review into the role of vets in the food supply chain to enable suitably qualified meat inspectors to perform certain administrative tasks to take the pressure off Official Veterinarians. From an article published in The House magazine, it seems that others may be coming round to a similar idea. For all in meat processing, this is an interesting read.

Read more

16 May

Food Security: New index selectively measures food security

On first reading a few things caught our attention about the government’s new Food Security Index, which is designed to be an early warning system to prevent the erosion of Britain’s self-sufficiency and supply chain security.

The emphasis on global food production and supply as a way of mitigating short term-supply shocks seems to contradict the basic premise that domestic food production forms part of our long-term ‘insurance policy’ against disruption to the overseas supply that we rely on. Using global food supply as “a useful indicator of the global availability of food on which UK food security is dependent” only anticipates problems with UK supply.

We’d also like to dig deeper into their production-supply ratio which seeks to measure self-sufficiency in various commodities. We think it paints a misleading picture for meat because the calculation only measures raw food production and consumption; it doesn’t include any processed foods, so no bacon, ham, ready meals etc. which account for a significant proportion of food consumed. Nor is there much mention of labour and the specific difficulty the food processing industry has in sourcing the right permanent workers and skills.

View the Index

15 May

Food Strategy: BMPA President attends Downing Street Farm to Fork Summit

BMPA’s President Tom Kirwan of ABP this week attended Rishi Sunak’s annual Farm to For Summit at 10 Downing Street. He reported that it provided a good snapshot of the current state of the debate surrounding Britain’s food security. While it was encouraging to see new measures announced to support UK farmers and growers, it became clear throughout the course of the day that government attention is focused largely on this one part of the food supply chain.

While self-sufficiency in fruit and vegetables is of the most immediate concern, it requires all parts of the food supply chain to be functioning optimally to achieve long term food security. Indeed, each part of that system has very different issues and needs. Any future food strategy must work for farmers, processors, retailers and consumers alike.

We are keen to ensure that policy makers recognise the interconnected and interdependent nature of businesses in this sector. We want them to appreciate that processors, when under pressure from trade barriers and worker shortages, will be less able to support a thriving UK livestock sector. So, we need government to create the right legislative environment to enable all parts of the industry to thrive. Andy Coyne of Just Food magazine has an excellent round-up.

Read more

10 May

Borders: Defra publishes new FAQs and learnings since new border rules came into effect

Defra has published a list of questions and issues that have arisen since the new Border Target Operating Model came into force on 30 April. It covers planning around Border Control Post opening hours, remote and code-locked containers (they need the code), commodity codes, use of official seals, fixing errors on EHCs, inspection charges and much more on filling out CHEDs on the IPAFFS system. You can also find a list of contacts for urgent BTOM queries here.

Read more

10 May

Environment: World Bank suggests moving government subsidies away from meat and dairy

In a new report the World Bank proposes a significant shift in agricultural subsidies and dietary habits to combat climate change. It suggests redirecting subsidies away from products like red meat and dairy towards options such as poultry, fruits, and vegetables.

To achieve emission reduction goals, the report recommends that developed economies together invest $260 billion annually in the agricultural and food industries by 2050, a substantial increase from current levels. By pricing the climate impact into food costs, the report argues that this shift in subsidies would make low-emission food options more competitive.

However, the World Bank acknowledges the sensitivity of these recommendations, anticipating resistance from certain political and cultural factions. They emphasise the importance of focusing on positive actions rather than dwelling solely on restrictions, aiming to foster a data-based debate rather than turning the issue into a divisive culture war.

Read more

10 May

Workforce: Government response to labour shortages disappoints

The Government has responded to John Shropshire’s Independent Review into Labour Shortages in the Food Supply Chain. While some measures like regional recruitment strategies are to be applauded, the more fundamental issues like housing availability near meat plants also need addressing.

We are disappointed that there has been no movement on the newly introduced minimum salary requirement for the Skilled Worker Visa. We have repeatedly explained that, far from undercutting British labour, the new £38,700 requirement far exceeds the average salary of a British meat plant worker and would contribute to significant food price inflation.

Given the difficulty of recruiting UK workers, we would again call for butchers to be placed on the new Immigration Salary List which would bring migrant wages back in line with UK workers. In an interview on Farming Today this morning, John Shropshire talks about the unique challenges to the meat industry.

Listen (at 8:36 Minutes)

2 May

Trade: New study sparks poliarised views on a UK/EU veterinary agreement

A joint paper from Aston and Bristol universities that claims a veterinary agreement with the EU could boost British agrifood exports by over 22% has prompted a strong rebuttal from Catherine McBride, an economist and member of the Government’s Trade and Agriculture Commission. She takes exception to a recent article in the Financial Times, concluding that the arguments for a veterinary agreement are “nothing other than the regurgitation of tired self-serving myths from protectionists who fear competition.”

BMPA has, for a long time, advocated for such an agreement, principally because the EU is our largest and closest trading partner for fast-moving perishable food products. We rely heavily on being able to sell to the EU to support UK food security through a thriving domestic meat and livestock industry. The EU export market is vital for ‘carcase balance’ and key to overall profitability. Equally, we rely on the EU to supply the bulk of the 49% of pork, 22% of beef and 21% of sheepmeat that we need to import to satisfy UK consumer demand, which is only made more expensive by not having a veterinary agreement.

For all who fall down on the more pragmatic side of the argument, including those in the Labour Party, Ms McBride’s comments shouldn’t be ignored, particularly given her position on the advisory Trade and Agriculture Commission, and the increasingly pressing issue of UK food security.

Read more

2 May

Retail: Supermarkets questioned on fairness in the supply chain

This week the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee of MPs questioned representatives from the major supermarket chains on their approach to balancing fairness when dealing with suppliers and value for cash-strapped customers.

They all spoke of their commitment to buy British and to use pricing models that reflect real costs of production to ensure supplier margins despite changing input costs. They also acknowledged that labour availability and costs are a major issue both for them and their suppliers. Much of the session was devoted to retailers’ interaction and obligations to customers. They discussed transparency of information, authenticity of branding and advertising, and ‘shrinkflation’.

Watch the session

2 May

Meat: Could the Australian Kakadu plum supplant nitrites for meat preservation?

Researchers in Australia have found that the Kakadu plum, a native bushfood that indigenous Australians have long consumed for its nutritional and therapeutic benefits, could serve as a natural alternative to traditional chemical preservatives like sodium nitrate in meat products. Due to its high antioxidant and antimicrobial properties and its high vitamin C content, the plum can inhibit bacterial growth and meat oxidation.

The researchers developed a Kakadu plum powder and tested its efficacy on refrigerated raw beef patties under modified atmosphere packaging with promising results. Significantly, it also maintained the meat’s taste.

Read more

2 May

Borders: Guidance on the new import requirements

Now the new Border Target Operating Model (BTOM) has gone live, Defra has published a useful summary of the key points to get right when completing the CHED import notification and customs declaration.

It’s been reported that up to 33% of paperwork for goods coming into the UK has contained ‘no-match’ or other errors which, according to Defra, will cause the consignment to be “subject to a customs hold at the port of arrival.” However it’s widely understood that this level of checks would quickly overwhelm border control posts, so most consignments are still being waved through.

The guidance note describes how to fill in the notifications correctly and also has links to a how-to video, HMRC guidance and contact details for urgent BTOM queries.

Read more

26 Apr

Food Prices: Supermarkets to be quizzed on fairness in the food supply chain

As part of their ongoing inquiry into fairness in the food supply chain, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee will question representatives from Tesco, Sainsbury’s Asda, Waitrose and Lidl on Tuesday 30 April at 2:30pm.

The committee has previously taken evidence from academics, food producers, and manufacturers but, in this fourth evidence session, MPs’ focus will be on the relationship between food production costs, food prices and retail prices, and how structural relationships between food producers, manufacturers, and retailers could be improved.

Witnesses will be questioned on the nature of retailers’ profits in the context of the high food price environment and how they ensure that profits are distributed throughout their supply chains. They will also be asked about the extent to which the position of consumers is considered when setting prices.

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