TV chef lifts lid on state of British pork industry, urging consumers to buy British
Jamie Oliver is in campaign mode again, this time hoping to increase awareness of the ‘dark secrets’ of pork production in Britain.
The celebrity chef has warned that the British pork industry could die within a decade if consumers continue to buy from supermarkets that offer cheaper imported meat.
Oliver has urged the public to buy British pork and bacon – even if it means stretching the pennies that little bit further, in a bid to save the industry.
‘British pork farmers are going bankrupt every week,’ he said. ‘In five to ten years there possibly won’t be a British pork industry, unless something radical happens.’
The TV chef explained that British pork has a higher price tag than meat from Europe because British farmers keep to higher standards of welfare than their European counterparts.
Oliver lifts the lid on the state of the British pork industry in a new 90-minute TV special entitled Jamie Saves Our Bacon, set to air on Channel 4.
During the programme the campaigning chef urges the EU to lay out tougher minimum welfare standards for farmers and show more honest labelling about how their animals are treated.
In the same way that Oliver revealed the dark underbelly of the chicken industry last year, the new programme sees the chef liken pig stalls to battery cages.
‘The sow stall is where pigs live for probably 90% of their lives for four or five years,’ he told the Radio Times. ‘They’re not banned in Europe, but they are banned here. And because they’re banned, it costs our farmers more to produce a minimum standard pig than in the rest of Europe.’
He added: ‘It’s about patriotism and welfare. Buying British costs 3p extra a rasher of bacon. That’s all.’
Oliver’s revelations comes as MPs reveal that two thirds of the sausages and bacon imported into the UK ‘might have been reared in conditions banned in this country.’
Jane Kennedy, minister for food and farming, said: ‘The British pig industry has already implemented the higher welfare standards which will become European law in 2013 and currently set the standard for compassionate pig production.
‘For consumers to be sure they are buying to the highest welfare standards, they should look for The British Quality Standard Mark.’
Channel 4’s Great British Food Fight season begins at 9pm Monday 19 January and Jamie Saves Our Bacon will be aired as part of the season.