Local butchers see business bloom

Master Butcher Cliff Bertram, Kirriemuir with a cut of Scotch beef.
Master Butcher Cliff Bertram, Kirriemuir with a cut of Scotch beef.

LOCAL butchers in Forfar and Kirriemuir have seen an increase in the sale of their produce since the recent horse meat scandal.

According to the businesses, more and more people are choosing to ditch their supermarket frozen food and ready meals in favour of fully-traceable, recognisable and locally-reared Scottish meat products.

The horse meat scandal has led customers to have second thoughts about what they are choosing to purchase and put on their plates.

Rennie’s butcher in Forfar has seen a steady increase in trade.

Allan Rennie said: “There are very few customers who have not mentioned the recent horse meat scandal.

“We are seeing more new faces and an increase in the regularity that current shoppers return to our stores.”

The crisis involving consumer confidence with Britain’s large supermarkets follows the revelations from the Food Standards Agency that Findus lasagne dishes, labelled and sold as beef, were in fact 100 percent horse meat.

Kris Davidson from Watt the Butchers in Forfar said: “There has definitely been an increase in sales in the last couple of weeks. Everybody has been commenting on the horse meat scandal and I’ve had some pretty funny text messages with horse jokes!”

Cliff Bertram from Bertram’s butchers in Kirriemuir commented: “Our sales of produce, particularly burgers, are up since the horse meat scandal.

“We never cut corners with our produce and it is good for the customer to see what they are purchasing.

“Everything is either made here or in the bake house.”

The route that the horse meat has been travelling in order to get to our shop shelves in Scotland - via Poland, Ireland and the North of England, has highlighted for many consumers just how corrupt the meat trade is at the lower end of the market.

Horses slaughtered in Romania are thought to have been used by Comigel to make ready meals which are distributed across Britain and Europe, raising fears the problems are more widespread than first thought.

SNP MEP and member of the European Parliament’s powerful Agriculture Committee, Alyn Smith, called on the European Commission to come forward with urgent and thorough legislative proposals to put in place a mandatory system of country of origin labelling for meat products, including supermarket own brand products.

His call comes in the wake of the discovery of horse meat in burgers and lasagne, and reports that meat labelled as halal actually includes traces of pork.

Mr Smith has been a long-time campaigner for compulsory country of origin labelling. He said: “Incidents such as the horse meat saga, and the reports of halal produce containing pork, work to undermine the faith of EU consumers in the safety of the food chain and strengthen calls for more robust, precise and a compulsory method of food labelling which clearly identifies the origin of the product.”

He added: “In the current marketplace, with concerns about the precise content of processed food, as well as carbon emissions and food miles, consumers want to know where their food comes from, and Scottish farmers, who are renowned for producing top quality produce, are in a strong position to benefit from this.

“It is clear that consumers support country of origin labelling, and it is only right that they receive full and clear information to allow them to make informed purchasing decisions.

“If supermarkets won’t, or perhaps can’t, tell us the precise contents or origin of a product on their shelves then I want to see the Commission come forward with legislative proposals that make country of origin labelling compulsory. And I want to see this done with all possible haste, before consumer confidence in meat products in damaged any further.”