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21 June 2013 | Adam Leach
Food retailers, processors and farmers in the beef supply chain should work more closely together to maximise the benefits of high demand for British produce.
That’s according to the National Farmers Union (NFU), which represents the interests of British farmers. The body this week published a statement saying demand for British beef had been driven up as a result of the horse meat scandal. It said that with consumers, and by extension retailers, seeking greater assurances over food providence was stronger than ever.
Andy Foot, NFU beef group chairman, said: “There has never been a better time to back British beef, but there are challenges that we must work on together across the supply chain to overcome. We are keen to put more British beef on British plates but for this we need confidence that all areas of the supply chain will work together to both minimise and share the risk for the primary producer."
The union stressed the need for each link in the supply chain to work more collaboratively with partners, particularly with regard to regulating supply by sharing more information. It also called for a more cohesive approach to risk management, with buyers, processors and farmers pooling resources to address environmental, herd health and regulatory issues.
This month, food manufacturer Birds Eye announced that 100 per cent of the beef contained in its products will, from the end of the month, be sourced from British or Irish farms. A statement said: “By taking this approach to sourcing for all beef products the company will create a simpler supply chain that allows for full product traceability. This means that all Birds Eye’s beef can be traced back to the exact farm it came from.”