A Westcountry MP launched a campaign yesterday to lobby the Government and retailers to make policy commitments to back and support the British beef industry.
Stephen Gilbert, MP for Newquay and St Austell, spoke of how the red meat industry was worth millions of pounds to Cornwall as he took a tour of supplier St Merryn Foods near Roche.
The Liberal Democrat met with company managers of the firm, which had been operating in the area for 25 years, to discuss the challenges for the industry and its importance to the local economy.
Throughout the campaign, which is being run alongside a similar effort from the National Farming Union, Mr Gilbert said he will be working with the Government to adopt policies that support the industry.
He said he would also be lobbying retailers to commit to sourcing British beef; and promoting a conscientious purchasing culture amongst consumers to increase awareness of the source and supply chain.
He said: "I'm launching a campaign to Back British Beef to make sure the contributions of those involved in the sector are recognised, respected and rewarded properly.
"The red meat industry is worth millions to Cornwall and thousands of people are employed in getting food from the farm to our fridges.
"There's no better place to launch this campaign than at St Merryn Foods .
"The company has provided beef and lamb produce to Tesco stores nationwide, employing over 320 local staff and bringing millions of pounds of investment into the heart of Cornwall, for 25 years. Over the coming months, I will be lobbying government and retailers to support the industry through both policy and purchasing commitments.
"We all benefit by supporting locally sourced British produce – we get a product we can trust, whilst protecting jobs and seeing continued investment in our communities."
The British beef industry contributes £2.8billion to the national economy, and employs 440,000 throughout the supply process.
Ranjit Singh, CEO of 2 Sisters Food Group, the parent company of St Merryn Foods said: "As British's agriculture's biggest customer, we are proud of the role we play in securing a future for the farming industry and helping it to develop and grow. 100% of our meat is British sourced, so we are naturally one of the biggest supporters of the Back British Beef campaign. We welcome Stephen Gilbert's visit and his backing for such an important industry to Cornwall."