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Butchers and farm shops benefit from horse meat scandal
9:00am Friday 22nd February 2013 in News
AN organic farmer thinks the horse meat scandal will be the tipping point that sees more customers turn back to local suppliers.
Jack Forster, of Moss Bank-based Forster Organic Meats, has already witnessed an upturn in demand for homegrown food.
The trend, mirrored at independent butchers in St Helens, such as Shukers on Jackson Street, follows the scandal that’s shaken consumer confidence in supermarkets and national food suppliers. Traces of horse DNA have been found in burgers and frozen ready meals, with the supply chain pointing to imports from Europe.
Butchers and farmers have seized upon the revelations to push home the case of eating fresh, reliably sourced meat – a point highlighted in the national media. A number have advertised in this week’s newspaper to promote using independent shops.
Jack, 25, who was forced to retire from professional rugby union with Sales Sharks after suffering a neck injury, now runs Shoots Delph Farm with his parents, He told the Star: “We have already seen an increase in custom, particularly among people who are conscious of what they are eating.
“They believed that if you looked at a label you were safe to assume what it was. A lot of loyal customers who have been coming to us for the past 10 years now feel they were right to have made the effort.
“They know how it is reared here at Moss Bank, taken five miles to be slaughtered and then comes back here to be chopped up, so they know exactly what is being sold to them.
“It is the principle to many people – they should be able to trust what they are eating.
“They have been talking about Bute (a drug given to horses) and saying you would have to eat 5,000 burgers to be affected. But there never should be anything in it – that is the point.”
Ian Shuker, 46, of Shuker’s butcher, says the scandal has been a talking point for the majority of his customers.
He added: “Ninety per cent of people have been discussing the horse meat and the problems with the supermarket industry.
“I’m slowly seeing an increase in people returning to the old-fashioned butcher.”