MP Calls for Government Help17 December 2012
UK - South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon has called for the Government to do more to support pig farmers, after he chaired an industry crisis summit at the House of Commons.
The summit brought together parliamentarians, key pig industry representatives1 and Food and Farming Minister David Heath to discuss the loss of confidence amongst pig producers about staying in business in light of high feed costs and, in particular, uncertainty around compliance by other countries with forthcoming changes to EU rules on pig welfare.
Mr Bacon said: "This summit was useful in identifying specific areas of concern for the pig industry. Although major retailers have committed to only stocking pork products that comply with current and forthcoming EU regulations, there is growing concern that supermarkets are not looking hard enough at their supply chains for branded and non-branded pork products. Supermarkets may soon be selling illegal pork products without even knowing it, which would render worthless any commitments they have made to consumers."
"The price of feedstocks is a growing concern. While pig industry leaders do not expect the government to control world wheat prices, whose sharp rise has led to very significant increases in feed prices, the industry would have much more confidence in facing these cost pressures and continuing to invest if it could be sure that all pork products on the UK market from 1 January 2013 will comply with new EU rules. At present it is far from certain that this will be the case."
"The pig industry has called on the Government to show leadership by ensuring that the pork it buys for schools, hospitals and the armed forces is sourced from suppliers who comply with EU rules in full. So far the industry has had a very disappointing response from the small number of government departments that have replied to its inquiries and I was pleased that the Minister has agreed to take a central role in ensuring Government departments are compliant. This will demonstrate the UK government's commitment to other buyers across the country, even though it is only a first step. If it should turn out that there is illegal meat on the market next January I will expect the government to clamp down rapidly."
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