Traditional British butchers boosted by horse scandal

11th February 2013, Comments 0 comments

Traditional British butchers' shops are seeing a boost to business as meat buyers turn away from imported and processed products following the horsemeat scandal, a trade body said on Monday.

Eating horse is considered taboo in Britain and tests have found some supermarket frozen ready meals produced in mainland Europe and labelled as processed beef actually contained up to 100 percent horsemeat.

The head of parliament's scrutiny panel on food affairs has urged consumers to buy British meat and shop at their local butcher's to better reassure themselves about where their meat has come from.

"There has definitely been a spike in sales for the high street butcher in recent weeks, some are saying by as much as 20 and 30 percent," said Brindon Addy, chairman of the Q Guild which represents 120 butchers across Britain.

"It is obviously great news for those butchers who have found it difficult to compete with the big supermarkets in the past.

"People slip into the convenience of supermarket shopping, but whenever there is a scare -- be it horsemeat or BSE ("mad cow disease") -- they always come back."

While there was "nothing wrong" with eating horsemeat, consumers are concerned about eating equine flesh being passed off as beef.

"It's a trust issue," said Addy, himself a butcher from Holmfirth in northern England.

"Some people are wising up. If they buy a sausage worth tuppence (two pence), they've got to wonder what is really going into it. Horsemeat would probably be one of the better things to find in it."

Steve Brown, who runs a butcher's shop in Saltash, southwest England, said: "Companies are always trying to sell me meat from Saudi Arabia, Botswana, Romania. It might be more expensive, but people can trust British meat.

"I'm sure some will go straight back to the cheaper stuff once this has all blown over."

© 2013 AFP

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