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British-produced Meat

Volume 609: debated on Thursday 5 May 2016

We have some of the best native breeds of cattle, pigs and sheep in the world, and we want to promote quality meat that is produced in the United Kingdom. Because we secured country of origin labelling legislation, such labelling is now mandatory on poultry, pigs and lamb, as well as on beef. Two weeks ago, the Secretary of State was in the United States, working to open the market there for British beef, and I was in Japan making the same case for our top-quality beef to the Japanese Government. We are also exploring ways in which to use the GREAT branding in retail settings to encourage more consumers to choose British products.

I greatly welcome that. I recall that, last November, Parliament was festooned with banners reminding us about something called “vegetarian week”, and urging us to try a vegan meal. In the interests of fairness, may I suggest that we organise a similar event to encourage people to try British meat—perhaps a “British meat May”? If we launch such an event, can we ensure that Opposition Front Benchers are invited as well?

I am sure that my hon. Friend’s suggestion will enjoy cross-party support. He makes the good point that we need to promote our top-quality meat. The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board also performs an important role. I recently signed off two of its campaigns: a television advertising campaign to promote pulled pork, which is currently running; and a mini-roast television marketing campaign, which is intended to increase consumption of, in particular, underutilised lamb and beef cuts. There is already some very good work going on, but my hon. Friend’s suggestion of a parliamentary event is a useful one, and I shall be happy to explore it with him.