THE NFU is calling for other parts of the supply chain to meet the same high welfare and traceability standards that farmers adhere to, in order to avoid another food scandal like the contamination of beef products with horsemeat.
Following the discovery of horsemeat DNA is some burgers and frozen ready meals, the NFU said that consumer confidence in the food they eat is continuing to be undermined.
Last week, Findus removed a frozen lasagne, which is some cases contained 100% horsemeat in place of the advertised beef.
But the NFU said it is vital people realise that the scandal has nothing to do with the integrity of UK farmed products, and shoppers looking for reassurance about their food should look for 100% British produce for confidence.
NFU president Peter Kendall said: “Our members 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.
“This has never been a farming issue but it is certainly an issue that farmers will be taking extremely seriously. The NFU is working with the industry to uphold the reputation of British farmers who are committed to producing world class raw ingredients in to the supply chain.
“We are concerned about the ramifications for the industry as a whole which is why we are meeting with retailers, food service companies, processors, as well as the FSA and Defra, to establish the facts and seek reassurance that the integrity of British food is maintained.
“This whole system of quality is being completely undermined by failures within the supply chain and reinforces our call for clearer labelling and a commitment from retailers to British produce.
“In the meantime, shoppers should look for the Red Tractor logo on their fresh meat which shows the products they buy have been produced to world-class standards, which are independently inspected.”
The National Beef Association (NBA) said that beef is expensive to produce, process, store and distribute, yet consumers expect beef products to be available “for pennies”.
It said that the situation must be rectified quickly so that consumers can be assured “when it says British beef it is British beef”.
The NBA’s Hamish McBean said: “Consumers [must] ask questions when they are buying their beef, ask where it comes from, demand that those selling know its provenance, demand that the beef they buy is British beef.”