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    British farmers angered by Tesco over lamb issues

    NewsWednesday 16 July 2014
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    The NFU has recently spoken out against Tesco after they decided to heavily promote New Zealand lamb during the prime season for British lamb. 
     
    Tesco have stated that due to the ‘large demand for lamb’ they ‘cannot always guarantee consistent UK stock’. 
     
    This statement has riled some farmers, who were equally confused by last year’s statement from the supermarket which stated that British lamb was ‘not in season at the moment in the UK’.
     
    In the wake of these recent comments, the NFU president Meurig Raymond wrote to all supermarkets last week to highlight that British grass-fed, spring-born lamb is now in peak season. The letter also pointed out the fact that the southern-hemisphere lamb, that was born around a year ago, is currently at the end of its season. 
     
    Mr Raymond spoke out against the supermarket giant in a statement on the NFU website saying: “I am angry and disappointed that this comes only 18 months after giving such positive undertakings on its sourcing and supply chains for red meat.
     
    “The figures speak for themselves. The UK was self-sufficient in lamb last year and lamb numbers are even higher this year. We have more than enough lamb available.
     
    Mr Raymond went on to stress that the fact that Tesco is promoting New Zealand lamb over British could mislead consumers about the seasonality of lamb and that it also sends a signal to farmers that the supermarket is not prepared to promote the benefits of food produced in the UK. 
     
    By promoting the end-of-season lamb that many view as inferior, over the Red Tractor assured, fresh lamb that is produced in the UK, Tesco is failing to live up to the commitments made by Philip Clarke, according to Mr Raymond. 
     
    It was at last year’s NFU Conference that Mr Clarke pledged that Tesco should be the best supporter of British farmers, and that it wished to shorten the supply chain. 
     
    Mr Raymond continued: “Consumers want to buy our great British product and know when it is in peak season so it is vitally important at this time of year to give clearly-labelled, home-grown lamb pride of place, when there is a good, affordable and fresh supply on our doorstep. A YouGov survey commissioned by the NFU after the horsemeat scandal showed that 79 per cent of British people thought that British supermarkets should sell more food produced on British farms.
     
    “This month’s independent Beef & Lamb Watch results will highlight those retailers who aren’t backing British farming and living up to commitments made and we will continue to meet the retailers and meat processors on a regular basis to remind them of their previous commitments on sourcing.”
     
    Picture: Zabdiel
     
     
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