Foreign Meat Turns Prime British Beef Into Rare Beast

UK - Trading standards officers across the country are on alert for foreign meat being passed off as prime local produce.
calendar icon 30 April 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
Some butchers are charging as much as £20 per kilogram for steak from Africa, Australia or South America relabelled as best-quality local meat from pedigree cattle. Its true retail price should be about £9 to £10 a kilo.

Enforcement officers are now stepping up checks on butchers, restaurants, pubs and other catering outlets.

The price of top-quality local steak varies from £16 to £20 per kg around the country. Often it is more expensive than organic steak, which costs an average of £15 per kg.

Concerns were raised by the National Beef Association and the National Farmers’ Union.

A butcher in Northumberland was fined £1,800 and ordered to pay £1,200 in costs by Hexham magistrates after he advertised that “all our meat is bought from local Tynedale farms”. Trading standards officers found beef on the premises from Namibia.

In another case still to come to court an abattoir is being investigated for allegedly supplying Australian meat to restaurants that had asked for British. The whistle was blown by a chef who was suspicious about the quality of the meat.

Jim Rutter, chief trading standards officer in Northumberland, said: “There is a great push for local food and, from a customer’s point of view, while they may not notice much difference in the beef they see and taste, they have made a conscious choice to buy local because they wish to support local farmers.”

Source: Timesonline
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