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Stackyard News Aug 05

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UK Beef Imports Have High Environmental Cost

    Report Reveals True Story Behind Supermarkets' Brazilian Beef

Scottish farmers will be outside Tesco and Asda supermarkets on Friday urging shoppers to buy Scotch and highlighting the truth behind imported Brazilian beef. The renewed action comes on the same day a report is published by Quality Meat Scotland, the red meat promotional body, which reveals that the cheap Brazilian imports sold in the two supermarkets' stores have come from a tropical breed of cattle, proven to be of poorer eating quality.

This is the second week of action organised by NFU Scotland at supermarkets to highlight the quality of Scotch beef and the lack of assurances on Brazilian beef. Imports of cheap beef, shipped halfway round the world, are undermining Scotland's beef farmers who are producing a world-class product on supermarkets' doorsteps.

At the request of farmers, Quality Meat Scotland sent samples of fresh beef products from the supermarkets for testing to determine the background of the products. The samples taken from Tesco, Asda and Co-op all tested positive for Zebu genetics. That confirms that the beef comes from the Bos Indicus species of cattle which has been scientifically proven to be of a poorer eating quality. At the time when samples were collected, Sainsbury's and Morrison were not selling Brazilian beef so similar testing could not be done. Following NFUS protests last week, the Co-op agreed to remove Brazilian beef from its Scottish stores.

NFUS is now challenging the supermarkets' claims that they are sourcing quality meat which meets the same production standards as Scotch beef.

NFU Scotland President John Kinnaird said:

"Since our protests began last week over cheap Brazilian beef imports, the major supermarkets have been quick to claim they are not sourcing sub-standard imports. There were already question marks hanging over the animal welfare and environmental production standards in Brazil. Now it is revealed that Scotland's beef producers are being undermined by supermarkets buying meat which has a reputation for poorer eating quality, presumably just because it is cheaper.

"Our members will be at Tesco and Asda stores on Friday urging consumers to choose Scotch if they want peace of mind on the standard of the product.

"Scottish farmers are not afraid to compete with anyone in the world. But it must be fair competition. When supermarkets run promotions on cut-price beef without telling shoppers about the difference in production standards, it undermines all the good work of this country's beef industry. The real worry is that consumers will buy this foreign beef, perhaps mistakenly thinking it is produced here, have a bad experience and re-consider buying beef at all."

. A copy of the report and photographs are available from Quality Meat Scotland on 0131 472 4112. . Scottish farmers will be outside Tesco and Asda stores in Inverness, Elgin and Inverurie on Friday 26 August encouraging shoppers to buy Scotch beef and ask their supermarket questions over their cheap Brazilian imports. This follows similar action, also organised by NFU Scotland, at Tesco, Asda and Co-op stores in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dumfries and Aboyne on Tuesday 16 August.

link Lancs livestock leader not convinced by weak Brazilian beef ban

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