Pigmeat: Imports

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 14th March 2022.

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Photo of Mark Pritchard Mark Pritchard Conservative, The Wrekin

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to reduce the volume of low-value pig carcass imports from the European Union.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

There is currently no evidence that retailers or processors are importing more pork from Europe. At the present time, volumes of imports are at their lowest levels since 2017 and in 2021 were around 9% lower than those in 2020.

The UK is reliant on imports of around 40% to meet consumer demand for pork. UK consumer preference is also for cuts from the leg and loin and domestic production is currently insufficient to satisfy this demand.

On 10 February, I chaired a roundtable with pig industry representatives and retailers from across the UK to discuss the challenges that the sector has been facing in recent months. As part of those discussions, retailers have been encouraged to work closely with processors to access more of our great British food, providing a reliable and sustainable food supply to the British public and help to reduce the current backlog of pigs on farms. I have also been speaking directly with both retailers and the hospitality sector.

We are also launching a UK-wide review of supply chain fairness in the pig sector. We will be engaging with industry on this with a consultation expected later this year. We want to elicit industry views on improvements to fairness and transparency that could be made to ensure a profitable and productive future for our pig industry.

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