Gwent butchers’ sales up in horse meat row
2:50pm Thursday 14th February 2013 in News
TRADITIONAL butchers reported a marked surge in sales today in the wake of the horse meat scandal.
Beef sales soared by as much as 15 per cent at South Wales shops as weary customers turned away from supermarket chains forced to withdraw ready meals contaminated with horse meat from the Continent.
On Tuesday evening a Welsh meat processing firm, Farmbox Meats Ltd, of Llandre, near Aberystwyth, was raided by the Food Standards Agency as the inquiry into the sale of horsemeat as beef focused on the UK.
Award-winning Cwmbran butcher’s Douglas Willis accused supermarket chains of “badgering” cash-strapped suppliers who have had to “cut corners” by putting cheaper horse meat in beef products.
The stinging criticism came as a farmer told the Newport butcher’s Palfrey that horse meat had been inserted in the food chain as a cow carcass could cost ten times as much as a horse one.
Mark Ashenden, 42, of Palfrey’s, in Church Road, said: “Consumers realise butchers make their own products with full traceability back to the farmers, whereas if you ask someone in a supermarket they haven’t got a clue.
“I don’t understand why we have had to put full traceability in place as part of the law but supermarkets can get away with it.
“I served a farmer on Friday.
He told me a beef carcass costs £900 whereas a horse carcass is £70.
“I can understand the police investigation is going down a criminal side because there is a massive difference in profit.”
Douglas Willis butchers said sales of beef had gone up by around 15 per cent since the weekend. Firm boss Peter Willis, 43, said: “Because we’ve got our own farm we know how the animals are kept, fed and looked after right down to the consumer, which none of the supermarkets has got.
“As I see it the problem is supermarkets are badgering suppliers for prices, they’re knocking them down and then they get cornered.”
Newport Indoor Market butcher Tony Elston, 46, added: “We’ve certainly picked up on certain lines such as mince beef and stew casseroles.
“People are doing a lot more cooking themselves and generally there has been an uplift in these areas.”
The Food Standards Agency said this week there was no evidence to suggest the insertion of horse meat in beef products represented a safety risk, but urged consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.