St Albans farmers campaign on behalf of British meat

Harpenden farmer Will Dickinson

Harpenden farmer Will Dickinson - Credit: Archant

FARMERS from St Albans are calling upon supermarkets to “deliver on their promise” to buy and supply British meat following the recent horsemeat scandal.

Speaking ahead of last week’s meeting of the St Albans branch of the National Farmers Union (NFU), Harpenden farmer Will Dickinson said the issue was still a main topic of discussion for local farmers.

About seven farmers representing the district attended a recent NFU conference, where links between the farming and food industries were discussed in depth with talks on DNA testing, supply chain inspections, food security and the importance of buying British.

Will, who is a cereal farmer at Cross Farm and also has a small flock of sheep, said that while the majority of farmers in the district had arable crops, there were also sheep and beef farmers in the area.

He said that he and other farmers were concerned that Sainsbury’s had decided to remove the Red Tractor logo from meat products.

The scheme is a food assurance one which certifies food has been produced to independently inspected standards right across the food chain, from farm to pack.

The supermarket decided to phase out the use of the logo as customers complained that too many logos were confusing, but has said it aims to double its sales of British food by 2020.

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Will said: “Most of us are of the opinion that people have the right to know whether they are eating horse.”

The St Albans branch of the NFU is hoping to show residents how the local farming industry delivers various benefits such as careers, growing food crops and helping with various environmental initiatives.

n John Hunter is Hertfordshire’s new NFU county chairman. He was brought up in Shenley, where his dad and brother still live. He and his wife Wendy met at a Young Farmers Club – both help to run the St Albans club which meets on Friday evenings. John has urged farmers to champion their industry and highlight the contribution it makes.