Restaurant chains must be more upfront about the origin and
quality of the meat they serve if they are truly to respond to
growing consumer demand says the NBA.
EBLEX says Zebu breeds produce meat with an
overall poorer eating quality.
This warning comes from the National Beef Association which was
alarmed by the content of Granada’s “Undercover Mum” expose,
screened at 8pm on Tuesday August 21st, in which both JD Wetherspoons
and Greene King’s Hungry Horse restaurant chain’s were
serving beef containing Zebu genetics from cattle born and raised
in other countries.
“Zebu, or Bos Indicus, cattle are quite different from the beef animals
farmed in the UK and their beef is scientifically proven to be of poorer eating
quality than beef taken from a typically British, or Bos Taurus, animal “explained
NBA Director, Kim Haywood.
BOS INDICUS genetics ('zebu genes') is excluded from the English Beef and Lamb
Executive (EBLEX) Quality Standard beef scheme adopted by many retail outlets
and under the new requirement, which has been agreed by Defra, the zebu gene
must not appear in any beef or beef products that carry the Quality Standard
“DNA testing done by the “Undercover Mum” team confirmed that
67 per cent of the steak sold through Wetherspoons was taken from genetically
different Zebu cattle and it was abundantly clear that the consumers who were
interviewed had no knowledge of this.”
“Furthermore “Undercover Mum” showed that Wetherspoons was
openly claiming that its beef was 100 per cent British. DNA testing, clearly
showed that this was not the case. Nevertheless Wetherspoons has defended itself
by saying it is not legally obliged to confirm the country of origin.”
“Hungry Horse told the programme that if offered its customers value for
money. It has since claimed that Zebu beef is taxonomically identical to beef
from cattle breeds farmed in the UK, whatever that means, but it has not said
that Zebu beef is significantly cheaper than British beef and scientifically
shown to be of poorer quality. This is what it must mean about value for money.”
The NBA will be writing to the Competition Commission to ask for an investigation
by the Office of Fair Trading on the need to display the origin of the meat on
their menus to provide more information for consumers and to provide training
sessions for their staff on the origins of the beef they are serving to customers.
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