Pret a Manger’s chicken comes frozen from Brazil

The sandwiches are said to be made from ‘the best, natural stuff'

The high street food chain, Pret a Manger, which boasts its ingredients are ‘the best, natural stuff’ has come under fire for importing frozen chicken from Brazil.

The meat in Pret a Manger’s ‘Just Made’ chicken sandwiches is shipped more than 6,000 miles to the UK. When it arrives in the UK, Pret’s Brazilian chicken is

defrosted, marinated and poached before being used in a range of

sandwiches such as coronation chicken, simple caesar chicken, and

chicken and red roasted peppers.

The £200million-a-year firm says it uses the South American chicken because the animals are treated well there. It claims the meat is produced in better ‘animal welfare’ conditions than those employed by companies which supply rival sandwich makers.

Although there is no suggestion that the imported meat is harmful to health, campaigners have raised concerns at boasts that it is fresh. The revelation comes a week after it emerged the chain’s ‘spankingly fresh’ sushi was in fact frozen in Chile and shipped in.

Corinne Low, of the British Standards Trading Institute, said the wording was misleading as the government’s Foods Standards Agency counted anything which has been frozen as having been processed.

Brian Young, director general of the British Frozen Foods Federation, however, claimed meat producers here could not meet the demand. Britain shipped in 143,000 tons of cheap chicken, the equivalent of 60million birds, from Brazil and Thailand alone last year.

Yesterday Pret’s co-founder Julian Metcalfe pledged that by 2012 Pret would sell only British free-range chicken – which costs on average three times more.

The largest British supermarkets also source at least some of their chicken from Brazil. Tesco and Asda have admitted using meat from the country in sandwiches as well as processed food such as pies and ready meals. Both currently neglect to say where chicken or meat is from – entirely legal under current laws – but they promise to ‘roll out’ new labels in the coming months.

Sainsbury’s imports some Brazilian chicken for frozen food but tells its customers. Marks and Spencer and Waitrose, meanwhile, use only British chicken.

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