FUW URGES CONSUMERS TO BUY WELSH PGI MEAT
The Welsh farming industry is appalled over the developments surrounding the mis-labelling of horsemeat that have taken place over recent weeks, a Farmers' Union of Wales leader said today.
Anglesey beef and sheep farmer Dafydd Roberts, chairman of the union's livestock, wool and marts committee, said: "Producers of lamb, beef and other Welsh products have to abide by strict criteria and rigorous inspection regimes to ensure animal traceability.
"It now appears that a parallel processed food supply chain has been operating fraudulently and in a way which is completely out of the control of and unrelated to Welsh farmers.
"We have already called for the FSA to refocus its efforts to tackle what appears to be mis-labelling and fraud by middle-men in a complex and convoluted processed food supply chain and we welcome the FSA's actions and investigations regarding this," said Mr Roberts.
He also welcomed the EU's call for member states to carry out DNA tests on processed beef for traces of horsemeat for three months from March 1.
Health commissioner Tonio Borg, speaking after a meeting in Brussels with ministers from the UK, France and other affected countries, said horsemeat should also be tested for the presence of the veterinary medicine phenylbutazone ("bute").
Mr Roberts added: "Matters are developing on a daily basis but once we know all the facts about these horrendous practices Governments and the authorities must react robustly and in a way which ensures this can never happen again.
"We also believe that this should instigate a sea-change in our food culture and be a wake-up call for our supermarkets and other food suppliers.
"All food providers must, as much as is possible, take on the models adopted by so many FUW members who have developed food businesses with short farm-to-fork supply chains, meaning they can tell you exactly where a piece of meat comes from and who reared it.
"In the meantime, consumers can be confident that when they buy beef or lamb labelled as Welsh and accompanied by the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) logo, at their local butcher's or supermarket, it will be genuine. Our advice is - look for the logos."