Illegal pork being tackled by the National Pig Association
NewsTuesday 30 April 2013
Members of the pig industry have stated that they will start checking that illegally-produced pork from European Union farms is not entering the British food chain.
The National Pig Association's Exercise Compliance is following in the footsteps of its online Wall of Fame, which encouraged the nation’s top retailers and brands to pledge not to sell pork or pork products from continental farms that are flouting the European sow stalls ban.
Even though there has been ten years’ notice, over 60% of European Union countries are still failing to comply with the measures that were introduced at the beginning of this year.
The NPA is working closely with the UK government to stop pork from farms from adhering to lower welfare standards being sold to unsuspecting British consumers.
Imported pork products will be selected at random by Exercise Compliance, who will also be asking British companies that sell them, to trace them back to their farms of origin.
Lizzie Press, the NPA regions manager, said: "We believe the British food companies that have made the pledge on our Wall of Fame have conscientiously done what we asked of them, by gaining commitments from their suppliers that only pork from legal farms has been used.”
"But now we want to test those statements by tracing randomly selected packs back to their farms of origin."
The NPA has already made a trip to the Netherlands with Asda to visit two farms that produce pork for the supermarket’s supply chain.
Lizzie Press added: "Although we visited only a representative sample, it was clear both farms were fully compliant with the sow stalls ban and we were satisfied with the farm standards we observed.”
Sow stalls were completely banned in the United Kingdom 14 years ago, however the European Union did not introduce the ban across the board until January of this year. Though the ban wasn’t introduced until this year in the EU, continental farmers were warned in 2003 of the January 2013 implementation date.
Even at this point in time the ban is only partial. Though sows can’t be confined in stalls for most of their productive lives, they can still be kept in their stalls for around 20% of the time.
The NPA shares the view of the environment secretary, Owen Paterson, that it is unacceptable that nine member countries have still not fully complied with the ban.
The European Commission has started infraction proceedings against nine countries - Denmark, Poland, Belgium, Greece, Ireland, Germany, France Cyprus and Portugal - but it is a long process which can take over a year.