In the face of the forthcoming EU partial sow stall ban, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2013, Britain’s major food organizations have told the UK government that they will not sell pork and pork products from noncompliant pig farms.
The National Pig Association has said it supports the news, which follows months of campaigning by the British pig industry to prevent pork from noncompliant farms appearing on British supermarket shelves, on restaurant menus and in brand-name products. “It is great news that every organization has confirmed its members will use only meat from legal pig farms,” said National Pig Association Chairman Richard Longthorp at an industry stakeholder meeting with food minister Jim Paice. Among the organizations represented at the meeting were the British Retail Consortium, the Food and Drink Federation, the Provision Trade Federation, the British Hospitality Association, the Danish Agriculture and Food Council and the British Meat Processors Association.
The British Retail Consortium said that it was keen to avoid the sharp price rises that followed the introduction of Europe’s battery cage ban for the poultry industry in January and the National Pig Association said British producers will be ready to prevent unnecessary price rises for consumers by providing any additional pork required — but they will need advance commitment from retailers.
Meanwhile, it is understood that the European Commission fears as many as a third of Continental pig producers will be unable to meet the January 2013 deadline to get sows out of stalls, except for the first four weeks of pregnancy. In Britain, where pig producers conform to higher welfare standards, stalls have been wholly banned for 13 years.
Stewart Houston, chairman of the British Pig Executive, said the industry will now discuss the various pledges that have been made in more detail, to ensure they will be honored.