Lab-grown meat coming to supermarkets?

When Prof Mark Post unveiled the world’s first lab-grown hamburger four years ago, he garnered headlines around the world.

Prof Post’s argument is that conventional farming of cows is inefficient and it is a problem for the environment – not only in the amount of land that cows need to grow up, but in the greenhouse gases they belch out as they digest their food

This problem will only get worse, he says, as growing populations want access to more meat in places such as China or rapidly-developing countries in Africa.

The Earth cannot cope with that demand and remain intact.

So, at his lab in Maastricht University, Prof Post’s team want nothing less than to revolutionise our meat.

“I am confident that we will have it on the market in five years,” he said. He explained it would be available as an exclusive product to order to begin with but would be on supermarket shelves once a demand had been established and the price comes down.

Full story: ITV

Butcher hits back over minimum wage fine

The owner of a butchers in St Ives said he almost had to close his doors after being forced to pay out thousands of pounds to staff following a government crackdown.

Stephen’s Family Butchers, in Station Road says it has been penalised for failing to pay £3,542.90 to three workers.

Owner Stephen Alsford said: “We are a small family business and we have been heavily penalised, as master butchers we were trying to teach people to learn our trade but instead it almost shut us down.

“We were employing the workers as apprentices because butchery is a trade and there isn’t a college course to do this. We pay somebody for their skills and these employees were coming into no skills but they [BEIS] didn’t see that.”

Along with paying back the owed wages to the former employees, Mr Alsford said the business was also fined £4,000 which, he said, was staying taking its toll.

“Once that money has gone it is gone, a sum like this puts a hole in your business – this will take us a few years to recoup,” added Mr Alsford.

full story: Hunts Post

Irish beef to Saudi Arabia agreement welcomed

The meat industry has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, of enhanced access for Irish beef to Saudi Arabia.
The agreement, which follows high-level discussions between Minister Creed and Saudi officials, will give greater access to processed and cooked meats.

In a statement, Meat Industry Ireland (MII) said progress on any international market access was welcome and that the latest announcement would help some companies to develop their business into the region.

However, the industry body pointed out that the 30-month age restriction that existed on Irish beef exports to Saudi Arabia remained a difficulty.

“The Gulf States were an important outlet for high quality Irish beef in the past but trade over the last decade had been extremely limited due to the restrictive nature of certification conditions, in particular the requirement that beef must only come from under 30 months cattle,” an MII spokesman said.

Full story: indipendent.ie

Scottish pork and bacon producer expands

Pork and bacon producer John Robertson & Sons has expanded its processing capacity with a £3 million investment in its second facility in Ayrshire.

The Ardrossan-based parent company of Robertson’s Fine Foods of Ayrshire said the Irvine food processing unit, which has been partly funded with a six-figure grant from Scottish Enterprise, has created 11 jobs – taking its headcount to 84.

The move into the 36,000 square ft facility comes after Robertson’s made its first move into the consumer retail market, supplying sausages, smoked loin joints and ham houghs to Aldi under the Humphrey & Sons brand.
Full story: The Scotsman

Chilled lamb program finishes for Alliance Group

The Easter chilled lamb period has ended for the Alliance Group, with chilled lamb heading for United Kingdom and European shelves.

Alliance sales general manager  Murray Brown said the program, which began towards the end of January, finished at the end of February.

“The Easter chilled program is one of the key consumption periods for mainly the United Kingdom and Europe.”

As it was a key consumption period, it was always good for stores to have lamb on their shelves because it enticed consumers into them, with many stores putting out promotional materials ahead of Easter, he said.

But Brexit continues to cause problems for New Zealand meat companies.

Brown said the pound depreciating had impacted returns back to New Zealand and increased prices for UK consumers.

Lamb supply for the chilled program was slow, with farmers keeping stock longer to add additional weight.

“It was really due to the grass growth and the climate,” Brown said. In late January and early February the numbers of lambs processed were low but they began to pick up in the second week of February, with all plants working at capacity for three weeks, he said.

“If farmers have feed they will hold onto their lambs, it doesn’t matter what the prices are, because they have to manage their own farms. They’d rather hold onto a lot of feed and try to put weight onto their lambs, which is the right thing to do.”

Full story : NZ Farmer

Skegness abattoir blaze treated as suspicious

Police are treating the cause of a huge fire in Skegness tackled by more than 30 firefighters as suspicious.

A joint investigation by police and Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue is continuing into what started the fire at the Yorkshire Country Meats  abattoir on Heath Road in the town.

At its height, more than 30 firefighters were called to the fire in Skegness, which was tackled through the night.

Fire crews were called out just after 7pm on Friday, February 24.

By 2am on Saturday the incident response was scaled down to three fire crews and just two remained by 6am.

Police have renewed an appeal for witnesses who saw suspicious activity in the area to call 101.

Story: Lincolnshire Live

 

FSA seeks to reassure consumers on meat reports

The Food Standards Agency  has said recent reports about contaminated meat entering the food chain do not ‘give a complete picture’ and have sought to reassure consumers that the meat they eat is safe.

 

It was reported that one in four slaughterhouses are failing to take basic hygiene precautions to stop contaminated meat reaching high street butchers and supermarkets.

An analysis of government audits carried out at more than 300 abattoirs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland identified major hygiene failings in more than a quarter of the meat plants.

The FSA said if standards are not improving or the risk to public health is high enough, they take ‘enforcement action’ by taking away the premises’ right to operate.

Full story: Farming UK

Welsh lamb sets London ablaze

A trendy restaurant in London’s Soho district has bought more than 150 Welsh Lamb carcases since opening its doors just three months ago.

The Temper barbecue eaterie butchers whole carcasses on site and roasts them over a fire for hours in front of the restaurant’s customers.

“The lamb we use is so good, we simply serve it naked on fresh baked flat bread for the customer to appreciate the flavour,” said senior sous chef George Wood.

“We and our customers have confidence in the Welsh Lamb we buy, and that’s why they keep coming back. Lamb is one of the favourites here.”

Full story: Daily Post

Controversial abattoir to be demolished

Planning permission was today granted to demolish the former Banaras Halal Meats abattoir in Boosbeck .

Developers Hasland Green wants to flatten the building and replace it with 69 new homes.

Members of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council’s regulatory committee heard an impassioned plea to remove the ‘blight’ of the slaughterhouse from Boosbeck in east Cleveland.

Villagers fought plans to re-open the abattoir and continually complained about the noise and smells emanating from the site in the heart of the village.

The news was welcomed by Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP Tom Blenkinsop, who called it “the end of a long battle.”

He said: “The residents who had thought the abattoir had been closed for good when the former Noble family ceased trading were rightly annoyed when it re-opened under new ownership in 2015.

“They were concerned about fumes, smell and industrial activities in the heart of a village, but were caught by land use law which stipulated that former uses can outlive an ownership and start again without the need for a new planning application.

Tributes paid to popular Welsh butcher

Tributes have been paid to one of the most familiar faces at Newport Market in Wales, who died suddenly.

Patrick Turner, who ran Turner’s Fine Foods in Newport Market, lost his life at the age of 53 on Saturday, February 18.

The butcher, who was a familiar face to many in the city, had worked with the family business for the best part of 30 years and was described as “one of Newport’s brightest lights”.

Son of Teresa and Tony Turner, who owns AD Turners and Sons, Patrick had been a well recognised face at Newport market, having started working there at 16.

Family members confirmed that Turners Fine Foods would continue to run “in his legacy and in his memory”.

One of Mr Turner’s friends Jon Powell, who ran The Newsagent in Newport market, worked alongside him for around 20 years and described him as a “larger than life guy” who “made everybody feel welcome”.

Full story: Wales online