Anger follows horsegate hypocrisy among supermarkets
FARMERS in North Devon have reacted angrily over 'horsegate' and say it reveals hypocrites among some food processors and supermarkets.
The row in the industry erupted after horse meat and other material was discovered in some beef burgers.
British farmers have to undergo intense welfare and quality scrutiny just to have their produce considered by processors for sale in big stores.
But the scandal over the burgers has shown double standards, according to the regional vice-chairman of the National Sheep Association, Bryan Griffiths, of Burrington.
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He said: "There's considerable anger that the high and mighty supermarkets that try to make us jump through so many hoops buy anything as long as it's cheap.
"For us to sell anything to them we have to be farm assured.
"The Red Tractor scheme is a prerequisite to ensure that everything is done to a high standards and yet they're buying this stuff behind our backs.
"We're really disappointed because we go to such great lengths for them. It's hypocrisy."
The Food Standards Agency, Defra, local authorities and the food industry are investigating why a number of beef products on sale in the UK and the Republic of Ireland contained traces of horse and pig DNA.
National farming leaders believe there should be better labelling on meat products to safeguard long-term consumer confidence in beef and lamb products.
NFU president Peter Kendall, said a crisis of confidence had emerged.
He said: "The events of the past few days have severely undermined confidence in the UK food industry.
"Farmers are rightly angry that the integrity of stringent UK-farmed products is being compromised by using cheaper imported alternatives which, evidence suggests, do not meet the robust traceability systems we have in the UK.
"What is particularly concerning is that this revelation comes at a time when farmers are under enormous pressures and consumer confidence is low.
"Retailers will know they must take immediate action to address both the integrity of all their suppliers, and at the same time ensure that UK products are easily distinguishable and clearly labelled."