THE decision by Morrisons supermarket to turn its back on stocking 100% fresh British poultry meat has been labelled extremely disappointing by the NFU.
The NFU said it understood that the chain was importing poultry meat from within Europe and marketing it under Morrisons’ exclusive tertiary brand Hemsley’s.
It said that chicken farmers who supply to Morrisons had shown their commitment to new standards demanded by the supermarket and had invested in environmental enrichment measures such as perches and windows in poultry houses.
They also meet the requirements of the Red Tractor Scheme, which imported meat does not have to.
NFU poultry board chairman Duncan Priestner said: “We understand the difficulties retailers are faced with in a competitive market where consumers are demanding a variety of price levels to suit their needs, but unfortunately that comes at the cost of animal welfare standards and British poultry meat.
“British poultry producers have committed and invested in their businesses in order to supply Morrisons so it is extremely disappointing that Morrisons has made this decision.
“It means fresh British chicken will be now be displaced by cheaper produce from EU countries that will not have to meet the same welfare standards and it is a blow for the industry.
“Morrisons has always been a keen supporter of British farming and we want this to continue. We hope this is a short-term move that Morrisons will review and reverse at the earliest opportunity.”