South Holland farmers speaks out about Horsegate

Grower Chris Carter.
Grower Chris Carter.
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By now the dust has begun to settle on what has become known as the Horsegate Scandal and the general consensus is that the blame for this whole sorry affair cannot be laid at farming’s door.

After the predictable general outcry, the supermarkets found themselves at the receiving end of a genuinely angry public. But what was the real problem? Was it concern for public health or was it about inaccurate labelling and that the traceability of these products had become blurred?

For many years the NFU has worked with many supermarkets to initiate a scheme which guarantees the traceability of UK products, providing welcome reassurance to consumers that these goods are entirely safe and their origins can be traced right back to the producers.

Most UK agricultural products now bear the easily identifiable Red Tractor scheme logo. Every major supermarket in this country subscribed to the scheme but, sadly, last year Sainsbury’s felt they could better promote UK products by opting out of the scheme.

Since the scandal broke, most supermarkets have actively promoted the Red Tractor scheme to reassure customers about the traceability of UK products and to champion farmers who produce wonderful produce at competitive prices, and which contain exactly what is on the label.

Can we hope Sainsbury’s might reconsider and rejoin the fold?