Retailers accused of failing to stock British beef during Great British Beef Week

National Farmers’ Union president Minette Batters has said it is “inexcusable” to see some of the country’s biggest retailers failing to honour commitments to sourcing British beef.

It comes at a time when British prime cuts are in plentiful supply and in desperate need of a market.

Thursday (April 23) also marks the start of Great British Beef Week. However, there are reports that prime beef stocks in some retailers are being dominated by products from overseas.

NFU president Minette Batters said: “The sudden closure of restaurants due to coronavirus and the wider impact on the foodservice sector has meant prime cuts of British beef are being held in storage with nowhere to go. As these cuts are the highest quality and most valuable, farmers depend on these being sold.

At a time when retailers should be supporting British farmers more than ever and promoting these quality cuts of British beef, it is indefensible that customers who want to support British farmers by buying British food are only finding Irish cuts on shelves in some stores.

“Sainsbury’s has a policy that it will source 75% British beef. There is no reason whatsoever that this sourcing policy should not be demonstrated in all their stores.

“This week is about celebrating and promoting the incredible beef we have here in Britain. This is not what we are seeing from some of our retailers and both farmers and the public are demanding to know why.”

It comes just weeks after ABP came under fire for importing 400t of Polish beef for sale in Sainsbury’s and Asda stores in Britain.

Last week, Northern Ireland firm Doherty & Gray refused to rule out making further imports of Polish beef. The issue came to light after meat from Poland was spotted for sale in a butcher’s shop in Belfast carrying the processor’s address.