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Contamination of Beef Products

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:04 pm on 14th February 2013.

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Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee 12:04 pm, 14th February 2013

I am grateful that the hon. Gentleman has referred to conclusion 8 in our report, which is entirely relevant. I note with some sadness, as I represent one of the largest meat-producing areas in the country, that that one decision led to the loss of 30 jobs in my constituency. No other ban has been imposed on any other member state, and we are importing that so-called Baader meat, a similarly produced meat, and substandard —I would say—filler meat as well.

The one welcome aspect, to which my hon. Friend Neil Parish referred, is that there appears to have been a change in shopping habits over the past month. The one shining light is that we can have absolute confidence in home-produced beef and other British meats. We are now buying more British beef, more local meat from butchers and farm shops and more meat marked with the Red Tractor logo at the supermarket. The Red Tractor signifies that the entire food chain has been traced from farm to plate. It shows that the highest animal welfare and hygiene standards have been met. The farmers pay for the inspections. I believe that that is the flagship that should be used for good traceability for all imports. They should meet the same high standards and be as transparent for processed and frozen meats as they are for fresh, whether the meat comes from home, Europe or third countries.