English Farmers Are Furious Over Imported POLISH Beef
Supermarkets including Asda and Sainsbury's are stocking up on imported Polish beef while British farmers struggle through the coronavirus pandemic. UK beef farmers told the chains that the move is 'unacceptable', adding: 'Please do not play a part in killing British agriculture. Remember, once it's gone, it's gone.'
Supermarkets have faced 'overwhelming customer demand' for certain cuts of beef, particularly mince - which is mirrored by huge sales for pasta and tinned tomatoes.
One agricultural law firm tweeted a picture of reduced Polish beef on the shelves, telling Sainsbury's: 'Looks like no one wants your **** Polish beef! We wonder why?'
Nigel Davis Solicitors, of Ashbourne, Derbyshire, added: 'Try selling good home grown British beef - you can't beat it. Although we'd always recommend people to buy it from a proper butcher and not somewhere that thought to import this!'
Somerset farmer James Windslade said: 'Polish beef being imported by the supermarkets - come on supermarkets and Government, support British farmers.'
The National Beef Association, which represents UK beef farmers, has written to bosses at Sainsbury's and Asda asking why they have bought meat from Poland.
It said in a letter: 'It is unacceptable to us as an organisation, and, we suspect, to the British population, that you would choose to import beef from abroad at this time.
'Currently, there are no definitive answers on how Covid-19 may or may not be transmitted - are you able to guarantee the safety of imported food?
'Can you confirm and evidence that the source farms in Poland comply with the same rigorous conditions that British farms must adhere to in order to be able to supply your stores?
'Unfortunately for you, this gaffe has come at a time when the country seems to be pulling together in a flush of patriotic fervour; supplying imported mince is perceived as out of tune with current thinking, and people have plenty of time to spread the news.
'At a later date, when the crisis is over and the luxury of choice is handed back to the public, perhaps they will remember which supermarkets backed Britain.'
The move was also slammed by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers' Association, which criticised the ABP Food Group for bringing in Polish beef to meet shortages.
ICSA beef chairman Edmund Graham said: 'Why have they shown contempt for Irish farmers whose hard work has made billionaires out of their owners?
'This is a new low at a time when everyone else in the country is working together.'
And National Farmers' Union chief livestock adviser John Royle said: 'Our meat supply chains have not been immune to the disruption seen in retail and food supply chains in recent weeks and many will be aware that there has been some Polish beef and poultry meat stocked by some UK retailers.
'We have challenged this apparent change in sourcing policy. We are aware of the overwhelming customer demand for beef mince and poultry meat that outstripped the processors' capacity to meet demand – in particular for mince.
'British farmers are prepared and enthusiastic to meet any increased retail demand and are committed to meet the needs of consumers.
In January last year, a Polish abattoir was accused of handling sick cows, with the meat then imported to 11 EU countries excluding Britain.
Poland identified 9.5 tonnes of beef from the plant, which was later closed down, and 2.5 tonnes of this was exported.
Secret filming by broadcaster Polish TVN 24 revealed how cows that were too sick to stand being dragged from lorries into the slaughterhouse.