Horse Meat Scandal:
Consumers Told to Look for Logos
The Farmers' Union of Wales has demanded
more focus from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on tackling fraud and
mislabelling after supermarket beef products were found to contain horse
meat. FSA is also asking consumers to look for logos
to assure them of the origins of meat products.
The call comes after the FSA published its protocol for a UK-wide survey
of food authenticity in processed-meat products, drawn up in
collaboration with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural
FUW president Emyr Jones said: "The Welsh livestock industry has been
disgusted by the recent revelations that horse meat has been found in
products sold as processed beef and similar stories, and the FSA's
publication of a meat testing protocol is welcome. "Those involved and
those who have profited from fraudulent mislabelling at every level of
the supply chain should be punished."
Mr Jones said the revelations highlight concerns, expressed by the FUW
over many years, that the FSA has been preoccupied with issues which
should not fall within its remit while allowing disturbing practices
such as this to go on undetected.
"For many years the FUW has expressed concerns regarding the FSA's drive
to see products which form part of a healthy diet, such as red meat,
cheese and Marmite, branded as unhealthy," he said.
He also highlighted the pressures exerted on suppliers of local food
such as small abattoirs and butchers during the FSA review of its
Mr Jones added: "Businesses are already paying huge charges to comply
with food standards requirements and if these were increased they would
have a catastrophic impact on small and medium sized businesses,
including local butchers.
"Ironically, such charges play straight into the hands of those who have
been found to be producing and selling inferior mislabelled products, as
they are undermining the viability of those who produce fully traceable
and local Welsh food." NFU president Peter Kendall said farmers were
"rightly angry" that the integrity of stringent UK-farmed products was
being compromised by cheaper imported alternatives, which did not meet
Mr Kendall said: "We need to move this debate on to find lasting
solutions by putting an end to commingled products which mix UK meat
with imported meat, as well as clearer labelling of all ingredients in
products to ensure consumers can make a conscious buying decision.
"All retailers need to engage better with Red Tractor assurance,
increasing the use of the logo on pack, and focusing on the longer term
sustainability of their UK supply chains. These changes would benefit
retailers, farmers and most importantly, the consumer."
Ceredigion MP Mark Williams said retailer confidence must be restored.
"That's the real issue here, whether inappropriately or criminally,
products have been labelled and a fraud has been perpetrated across the
country," the Liberal Democrat said.
He added: "There is a fundamental issue of trust that people should
"When they make a purchase, when they eat something which is said to be
something, it is that, and not some substitute.
"I'm surprised there are five abattoirs in this country processing horse
meat. But misleading labelling, that's the issue most people across the
country will be concerned about. We need that speedy resolution, for far
greater, robust labelling of processed foods."
Red meat promotion agency Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC), is advising shoppers to
"look for the logos," to ensure they get what it says on the packet.
Welsh lamb and Welsh beef both have the European Union's Protected
Geographical Indication (PGI) mark. PGI guarantees that only lamb and
beef which has come from livestock born and reared in Wales and
slaughtered and processed at an approved abattoir or processor can be
called Welsh lamb and Welsh beef.
Any product containing authentic Welsh lamb or Welsh beef will be
labelled with the PGI mark and the Welsh lamb and Welsh beef logos.
HCC's Chairman, Dai Davies, said "If you see these logos on a product
you can be assured that you are getting what you are buying."
Emyr Jones said: "PGI assures consumers Welsh lamb and Welsh beef have
full traceability and are guaranteed to be sourced from lambs or cattle
born and reared in Wales."
Meanwhile speaking in response to calls for more focus on mislabelling
FSA chief executive Catherine Brown said: "We are now requiring a more
robust response from the food industry in order to demonstrate that the
food it sells and serves is what it says it is on the label."
The horse meat scandal has revealed the convoluted length of supply
chains for meat products in Europe. In the drive for efficiency,
retailers and food companies have lost sight of the farms where animals
are reared. With calls for greater traceability and provenance, major
changes are expected in supply chains for meat products. OM expects a
greater emphasis on localism whereby meat is produced and consumed
within regions / countries.
The Sustainable Foods Masterclass will focus on
supply chains and food authenticity. Taking place in Amsterdam on June
5th, the masterclass will discuss methods of improving controls in
supply chains to prevent fraud and mislabelling. More details are on the
Western Mail / Organic Monitor
Strong Growth in Fairtrade Product Sales
Fairtrade product sales increased by 19% in the UK last year to reach
£1.5 billion (EUR 1.8 billion), despite the UK's continued economic
The Fairtrade Foundation said sales were also increasing around the
world, showing that consumers had an appetite for food traded on fairer
The data has been revealed to mark the start of Fairtrade Fortnight. The
foundation states that a growing number of firms are selling or
increasing their commitment to fairly-traded products, including the
Co-op, Nestle, Divine, Tate & Lyle, Liberation Foods and Greggs.
Michael Gidney, chief executive of the foundation, said: ``Support for
Fairtrade shows that, despite the economic recession, the public have an
appetite for more traceable food that is traded on fairer terms with
farmers, and smart companies are recognising this.
``People are voting with their shopping baskets, and forward thinking
businesses are responding to this.''
The Co-operative reported that total sales of Fairtrade products in its
stores had increased by 20%, helped by a switch last year to 100%
Fairtrade bananas, and a 40% increase in Fairtrade wine sales in the
last quarter of 2012.
Earlier this month, The Co-operative Food became the first retailer in
the UK to switch all own-brand bunches of standard roses and single stem
roses to Fairtrade, sourced from Fairtrade-certified growers in Kenya.
Steve Murrells, The Co-operative Food chief executive, said:
"These tough economic times are making people
think very carefully about how and where they spend their money."
"Our customers can see the benefits of buying
Fairtrade, and the difference it can make in tackling global poverty,
but they also know they are purchasing great-tasting products which
provide great value.''
Sustainable Foods Summit
Fair trade and ethical sourcing will be featured in
the upcoming Sustainable Foods Summit, taking place in Amsterdam on June
6-7th. The summit will look at methods of improving the social dimension
of food products: by undertaking fair trade sourcing projects, CSR
initiatives and sourcing locally. More details are on
Source: News Release / Organic Monitor
Plum Organics Buys Plum UK
The organic baby food company Plum UK has been acquired by US-based Plum
The acquisition signals the start of international expansion for
Plum Organics. According to the company, the move also positions the
firm as a "leading kids nutrition brand" and the first to offer premium
products for infants, toddlers and schoolchildren on an international
The combined Plum product portfolio now comprises over 150 products with
distribution in over 13,000 stores worldwide. The company will now have
retail sales in excess of US$ 120m.
"From the beginning, both companies were inspired by love to improve the
health of our little ones by making great tasting organic food a part of
a family's busy lifestyle," said Neil Grimmer, CEO and Co-founder of PlumOrganics.
"Like Plum Organics, Plum UK is a 'David versus Goliath' brand filled
with passionate people that are inspired to use the power of business to
make a difference in the world. We're excited to continue this mission
"Plum Organics is known in the US as a game-changing innovation
hothouse," said Scott Wotherspoon CEO of Plum UK. "The success of their
expansion into the toddler and kids categories proves the strength of
the Plum brand. We can't wait to capture some of that momentum by
bringing their products to little ones in the UK and beyond."
With this partnership, the companies said, Neil Grimmer will maintain
his role as CEO for the new entity doing business as Plum Inc., and
Scott Wotherspoon will continue to lead the UK business. The company
headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area will employ 88 people
including offices in London and New York.
Plum Organics is the latest American natural &
organic food company to make an investment in the UK market. Like others
before it, Plum Organics plans to use the UK as a springboard for the
European market. However, a number of American companies have discovered
the European market is a difficult market 'to crack' because of many
market entry hurdles.
/ Organic Monitor