Save Our British Bacon – Channel 4 – 29th January 2009

Channel 4’s The Great British Food Fight continued last night with Jamie Oliver trying the save British Pig Farmers. Pig farmers across the country are in crisis because huge increases in the price of grain mean they are losing up to £20 for every animal they produce. Experts warn the industry faces catastrophe unless the price of pork and bacon rises, a move so far rejected by supermarkets. Also the cost to UK farmers of meeting higher welfare standards has left them open to competition from some mass producers from the EU.

Britain is importing cheaper bacon and pork from Europe which has often been reared in conditions that are banned in the UK.

Bewildered? You should be.

It does seem ludicrous to say the least that pig stalls are banned in the UK and yet we are quite happy to import bacon from Europe that has been reared like that. The pork is cheaper by the very method it is reared with pigs living up to 5 years in stalls forced to pop out about 40 pigs a time. So the bottom line is that if we buy cheaper e
European pork, the pig is unhappy, the British farmer is unhappy and everyone loses out (except perhaps the Danes).

As Jamie showed last night when people are offered a choice they almost always want to buy British and would also pay a small amount more if they knew the pigs have lived a decent life.

Jamie comes in for a lot of stick by the press, but his heart is definitely in the right place and the programme last night highlighted the need for every single British shopper to know exactly what they buying, where it has come from and be able to make informed decisions based on clear labelling.

To hear any pig farmer has taken their own life is tragic, and with a little help from consumers it need not be like this.

So please, until labelling is clearer, BUY BRITISH -look for the Union Jack label or, RSPCA standard approved and make sure its reared in the UK. As shown last night you might need a magnifying glass to read the labelling properly!!


5 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    esther paton said,

    My husband went into our local butchers ans asked for a posk shoulder as on the jamie oliver show and he didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. can you tell me where I can get one from as we both agreed it looked fantastic and mouth watering.

  2. 2

    katenut said,

    Hi. I’m at a loss to know why your butcher didnt have a clue what you were talking about. You can certainly buy shoulder of pork or shoulder of pork steaks at Waitrose and on line and try whitegate farm shop on line as well. I would suggest you try another butcher because this is not an unusual a cut of meat. Good luck and enjoy! Kate Arnold

  3. 3

    BERYL GEBBIE said,

    Hi Kate
    I saw Jamie’s programme the other night – and I absolutely agree with what he is trying to do. The next day I went to my butchers and asked about buying a pork shoulder and I was told they didn’t sell them, what they did do was bone and roll them, if he did sell the whole shoulder the cost would be £18. I thought that was a bit expensive as there is a fair amount of bone in there .

    I am a bit concerned about buying meat in the supermarket because (a) you don’t know where it comes from some times (b) the taste is just too awful for words at times. I have found someone rearing their own pigs, locally in Pevensey – they are free range. The meat does taste so much better and we really enjoyed the meal we had last week. This pig farmer sells his produce at Bexhill Farmers Market and the Little Common Farmers Market. If anyone wants to contact him you will find his site on the computer “Happy Pig”.

  4. 4

    katenut said,

    Hi Beryl

    Thanks very much for that information. I hope it will be useful to others in the east sussex area. £18 does so quite pricey which is a shame – dont give up on your supermarket though – if you look at the label carefully you might be able to buy some meat that you do like. Try Waitrose and Sainsburys.

  5. 5

    Super awesome writing! Really!

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