‘Buy local’ says butcher after horse meat scandal

Martin Smith at Smith's Butchers
Martin Smith at Smith's Butchers

SHOPPING local is the best way to ensure you are getting what you pay for, says one Bridlington butcher.

Martin Smith, of Smith’s butchers on Chapel Street, said that customers can trust what they buy when shopping at local small businesses, after revelations that horse meat had been passed off as beef at a number of big supermarkets.

Mr Smith, who has been a butcher for 51 years, has put up signs in his windows assuring customers that they are buying 100% beef.

He said: “All our meat comes from one place, one supplier, John Penny near Leeds, and I get the information of where the animal was bought, where and when it died, everything. I know exactly where it comes from.

“We make our own mince, sausages, burgers, so we know what goes into them and other local butchers are the same. You can trust that what you’re buying is what you’re asking for.”

A UK wide survey by Consumer Intelligence says that 24% of adults surveyed in the UK said they would now buy less processed meat.

Since the scandal emerged in January, 21% said they had already started buying less meat in general, and 62% said they were more likely to buy their meat from independent shops.

Mr Smith continued: “It is deception. It’s not just that it’s horse meat, people have been lied to and can’t trust what they’re buying in value meals. I think a lot of people wanted food that is already prepared and very cheap.

“People need to get back to cooking for themselves and a butcher will always advise people the best cut to buy.”

Last week it emerged that some meals destined for schools in Lancashire had traces of horse DNA in them.

A spokesperson for East Riding of Yorkshire Council, who are responsible for local authority schools in Bridlington, said: “Written confirmation has been received from all our meat suppliers that they comply with all current regulations and that they do not process or use equine meat in their products.

“However, this refers solely to local authority establishments which purchase from council approved food suppliers and does not include establishments such as academy schools, PFI schools and schools and other services which procure their own food and drink.”

Bridlington MP Greg Knight has urged consumers to look out for the ‘Red Tractor’ logo when shopping - which means that meat can be traced back to a British farm.

Mr Knight said: “Red Tractor food brings with it proper labelling, the assured traceability of ingredients and you can have confidence that it has been produced in the UK to higher standards than most imported food.

“People are calling for clear, simple but accurate labelling and currently meat from a foreign animal which is processed in Britain can be labelled as UK produce.

“If shoppers choose Red Tractor food then it gives them more than just confidence that they are buying a British product. No Red Tractor products have been implicated in the horsemeat scandal and only beef from certified farms can be used in Red Tractor labelled products, so customers can be sure that it is what it claims to be.”

He continued: “Currently British farmers are competing with inferior and sometimes mis-labelled products, sourced from foreign animals, reared to significantly lower standards and masquerading as British.

“Choosing a Red Tractor product does not only guarantee that you are buying good food - it will also provide a boost to UK farmers.”