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MP launches Back British Beef campaign with NFU

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: August 27, 2013

Comments (7)

A Westcountry MP will launch a campaign to Back British Beef today during a visit to a meat supplier in mid-Cornwall.

Stephen Gilbert MP will introduce the constituency and parliamentary campaign, which will be run in partnership with the National Farming Union (NFU) at St Merryn Foods' red meat site at Victoria, Roche this morning.

The Liberal Democrat MP for St Austell and Newquay will be given a tour of the site, which supplies locally sourced beef and lamb produce to national supermarket chain Tesco, and be introduced to some of the 325 local staff employed on the site.

He will then meet with company managers to discuss the challenges facing the industry and its importance to the local economy.

"The beef and red meat industry is a vital economic contributor for Cornwall and other rural communities. Everyone benefits by supporting local produce", said Mr Gilbert. "I'm delighted to be launching my campaign at St Merryn Foods – they are a fantastic local business which contributes a huge amount to our community.

"Over the coming months, I will be working with the whole industry to call on government and retailers to Back British Beef."

It was estimated in a report by the National Farming Union last year that the UK beef industry generates £2.8billion a year, providing in the region of 440,000 jobs in England alone.

The thrust of the campaign launched by Mr Gilbert will be to support the British beef and red meat industry with a focus on its importance to the local economy, in terms of employment and commercial investment.

It will also focus on the promotion of sustainably sourced food from a known supply chain to protect quantity, which is seen as particularly important following the outbreak of the horsemeat scandal earlier this year.

Its primary objective is for supermarkets to make a commitment to sourcing British beef, as well as promoting the supply chains to the consumer, with St Merryn Foods seen as a good example of industry success.

As part of the campaign, Mr Gilbert is planning a number of different visits and events over the autumn and will be signing an NFU charter supporting it.

Mr Gilbert's efforts tie in with a campaign launched by the farming union earlier in the year encouraging consumers to purchase food produced on British farms.

Speaking earlier this summer, NFU beef group chairman Andy Foot said there had never been a better time to be a British beef farmer but there were challenges still to overcome.

He said: "We are keen to put more British beef on British plates but for this we need confidence that all areas of the supply chain will work together to both minimise and share the risk for the primary producer. As farmers we need to use this confidence to improve profitability, assess our costs and ensure we are running an efficient business.

"At a time of tight supply, it's also vital that we are all making best use of the beef that is available."

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  • emurfitt  |  August 28 2013, 3:27PM

    DipStick. If we go unheard when we stand as a block of twenty-seven, no-one will even know we exist if we stand alone. We are a tiny island! We need to be part of a 'political construction', as you put it, because on our own we are nothing. It's interesting how Europhobes think they were lied to at the time of the referendum in 1975. It was glaringly obvious where it was all leading even then. I voted to come out. However, the world has changed a lot in nearly forty years. I can now see there is no other way than to join forces with like-minded people in a democratic 'club' and speak with one voice on the world stage. This way we are on an equal footing with other great/emerging powers like the US, Russia, China, Brazil, India etc. It also gives us valuable human rights at a period in our history when our own national Government is hell-bent on taking them away.

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  • DipStick  |  August 27 2013, 5:46PM

    @emurfitt: ""... if it ever fragments into its former nation states with none of the former members having any clout as a world power, ... ". You need to gen up on where the rules and regulations get set. It is ABOVE the EU that this happens. At the moment we are one voice amongst 27, so guess how often the Uk view/desire is the majority? If we were outside the EU as a meber of the EFTA and EEA then we would be able to negotiate from a position of strength. In case you had forgotten, the EU is a POLITICAL construction, it is NOT a single market. Politicians lie through their teeth over this, just as we were lied to when we voted to go in. My view? A lot of our politicians should be tried for treason! DS

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  • twigcat  |  August 27 2013, 4:23PM

    I don't think lots of us are feeling warm and fuzzy about British farmers at the moment. The actions of those few involved in the pilot culls (yes, of course that's what I am refering to) are destroying the relationship between all British farmers and their consumers. Nice try, Stephen, but you may be as dim as you look.

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  • emurfitt  |  August 27 2013, 3:04PM

    Oh, yes, the EU. Well, DipStick, if it ever fragments into its former nation states with none of the former members having any clout as a world power, you'd better start learning Chinese...

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  • DipStick  |  August 27 2013, 2:35PM

    Oh, and I love a nice steak. It must be 'well done' for me, none of this rare stuff .... yum! DS

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  • DipStick  |  August 27 2013, 2:34PM

    Geeez, you don't half spout some bilge! I for one would like the planet to heat up a bit - it's been bleddy freezing the last few summers. Now, 1976, THAT was a summer. Oh, but wait, we were heading for an ice age at the time. Wonder what happened to that ..... not enough methane I'll bet .... Back to the article, I'd have a little respect for politicians if they attacked the real source of the problem, the EU. I "think" there may be an exception for beef that results from the BSE scare when France and Germany wanted labels so "everyone" knew if beef was coming from the UK. But in general "World Trade Organisation rules which only require manufacturers to name the place where the meat underwent its "last substantial change" ...", which is a copy of the EU rules. Basically, 'Made in Britain' could just mean the the meat was packed in the UK but brought in from Outer Izbekisslovakia so until this is addressed, and the only way to address it tis to leave the EU (as soon as possible please!), the MPs can have as many initiatives as they like but b*g all will change! DS

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  • emurfitt  |  August 27 2013, 12:11PM

    Back British beef? You mean the industry that requires our badger population to be decimated as a scapegoat for its own failings? You mean the industry that chokes up the arteries of the misguided people who actually eat this stuff? You mean the industry that requires millions of sentient beings to meet a terrifying end at a very young age in a slaughter house? You mean the industry that pollutes our rivers and seas with slurry, effectively trashing the environment? You mean the industry that produces so much methane the planet on which we all depend is over-heating? You mean people should actually EAT these wretched victims of physical mutilations? You mean eat these victims of the multi-billion pound global pharmaceutical/agri-chemical industry? Oh, please! If there's one industry the human race, the environment, animals and the country DON'T need, it's the beef industry. At least now we know Stephen Gilbert is in the pocket of the NFU.

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