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Sunday, 31 August 2014

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Shoppers rediscover local butchers after horsemeat scandal

SHOPPERS are switching back to their local butchers in the wake of the horse meat scandal.

Demand for mince and stewing beef has increased and family butchers are seeing “a lot of new faces”.

The demand for assured, quality Cumbrian beef has never been higher says the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), which says people are trading up or opting for fresh British meat over imported processed products.

Anthony Dalzell, director of Haigh’s Butchers said: “Since the news came out we are seeing a lot more people in the shop and our sales of mince, steak mince and stewing steak went up by 25 per cent at the end of last week.

“We buy at Mitchells, Cockermouth and all our meat is locally sourced. Much of our beef comes from Crichton’s farm at St Bees and Bowes’ Hunday Farm – you can’t get more local than that. It’s all tracked and traceable. I think customers are looking for that reassurance about the meat they are eating.’’

At Wilson Willis butchers at Cleator Moor, Mrs Diane Willis said: “The horse meat scandal is dreadful and I think there will be more horror stories to come out. Horse meat is usually only used for dog food and there are concerns about the drugs that are used on horses getting into the food chain. It’s quite scary.’’

She said there had been a noticeable rise in the sales of beefburgers last week and customers were asking more about the meat they were buying. “We buy local, at Mitchell’s and display in our shop information about where it was purchased, even down to the farm it has come from.’’

At Hambling’s Market Place butchers in Whitehaven, now in its fourth generation of operation, David Dawson says he too has noticed an upsurge in the sales of mince and stewing beef.

“All our meat is traceable as British beef from our suppliers and our customers feel they can have confidence in what they buy from us,’’ he said. “I know in some parts people do eat horse meat, but in this case it has not been marketed as such, with food labels saying it is something it isn’t. That’s what’s shocking about all this.’’

Richard Wilson of Wilson’s family butchers Egremont says his advice is to shop local and where you know where the meat has been sourced from.

“We buy from Mitchell’s and from a farm at Bigrigg and we use a local slaughterhouse at Wiggonby, near Wigton. Anyone that knows us knows we buy local and have done, ever since foot and mouth.

“This latest meat scandal is obviously price driven, it’s about somebody trying to make some money and targeting the cheaper end of the market. People have been duped. It is bad, but it does us no harm, more people are buying our burgers.’’

NFU’s Cumbrian livestock representative Graham Hogg who farms at Windscales Farm, Egremont, said: “If you want a cast iron assurance that the food you are buying is what it says it is and has been produced to the highest animal welfare stands, buy 100 per cent British and only buy products with the Union Jack or Red Tractor logo. If possible buy Cumbrian – that way you’ll know it is proper stuff!”

Farmers are rightly angry and concerned with the recent developments relating to contaminated processed meat products. The contamination took place post farm gate which farmers have no control over. Said Mr Hogg: “This has never been a farming issue but it is certainly an issue that farmers will be taking extremely seriously.’’

Meanwhile Environment Secretary Owen Paterson was due to meet with food industry representatives to discuss the crisis. He told the Commons that it appeared “criminal activity’’ had been at the heart of the scandal.

Products from Tesco and Aldi have been found to contain horse meat. Investigators have shut down a West Yorkshire abattoir and a meat processing plant in north Wales.

Have your say

Yes David Melvin you are correct, I couldn't have said it better myself, the people of Cumbria need to use this incident to start to buy the local meats, Cumbrian meats, which we all know are the finest quality! By the way, I knew it was you all along that put those pint pots under my car wheels to burst my tyres, but I have forgiven you, this is what I mean - let's just all learn a lesson and move on.

Posted by Tommy Ostel on 20 February 2013 at 03:26

In response to Tommy Ostels post; I agree, people should just be happy that now know the truth so should put it past them and enjoy the future, enjoying fine quality CUMBRIAN meats! By the way, sad to hear about the pint pot incident - but I might have a confession to make there......

Posted by David Melvin on 19 February 2013 at 12:05

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