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Rising levels of imported meat is evidence of Labour's failure-Farron

June 29, 2009 12:00 AM

Nearly 60% of the pig meat eaten at our kitchen tables now comes from abroad according to Liberal Democrat Shadow Defra Secretary Tim Farron MP, who has accused Labour of failing to support British farmers.

Figures obtained by Mr Farron through parliamentary questions revealed that the percentage of pig meat consumed in the UK which was produced domestically has fallen by 22% since Labour came into power in 1997.

Mr Farron has argued that the government's decision to allow supermarkets to impose their own voluntary code of labelling has allowed imported meat to lawfully use the Union Jack flag to imply that the product is British when in reality it is not.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"Within the meat industry British producers stand proud because of their high animal welfare standards. But under this government higher standards have meant higher prices, leading to the situation we have today where only 41% of the pig meat eaten at our kitchen tables is produced on a British farm.

"Many of the animals which are imported and then sold as "British" have been reared according to standards which would be considered illegal in the UK.

"The public have the right to know the origin of the food they are buying. If people want to buy British food, they should be able to go into a shop and find those products.

"A legal requirement for supermarkets to label meat products with their country of origin would help protect consumers and farmers alike from cheaper, foreign imports."