ASDA 'betrays UK farmers' by importing turkeys

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

ASDA, once a British dairy cooperative, Associated Dairies, nowadays owned by Walmart, has been accused of betraying British farmers by importing cheap turkeys from Brazil.

The supermarket chain has shipped in more than 30,000 frozen birds over 6000 miles from South America to meet demand over the festive period. Certainly not good food miles.

Aside from the fact that they brought them over such a long distance, which cause emissions galore, we all know that Brazil often has standards in which the birds are raised so much lower than ours and so are the hygiene standards and it could be possible to bring in dangerous pathogens that way into the country and this also could be dangerous to the consumers.

But many customers are unaware of the origin of the turkeys, as the country of origin is only noted in small print on the backs of packs.

The Brazilian turkey crown is slightly cheaper, at £5.33/kg, than a frozen British equivalent, which costs the shopper £6.17/kg.

In recent weeks, ASDA has boasted about having won an independent price comparison survey showing it was able to provide the cheapest Christmas dinner this year. It would appear, however, that part of this success is down to a reliance on cheap imports from countries where the standards and production methods leave much to be desired.

ASDA will put fresh, all-British turkeys on sale from Saturday, December 19, 2009 at a higher price of £6.98/kg.

Charles Bourns, NFU Poultry Committee chairman, said ASDA's decision to import Brazilian turkeys was "shameful" and a "betrayal" of British producers.

"This is the latest blow for British turkey producers who have not had the support they need from the big supermarkets over many years," he said.

"British turkey production has come down from around 49m birds a year 10 years ago to about 15-17m today. It is a very sad story.

"I am told by a supplier that ASDA will probably make an extra £100,000 by bringing in turkeys from Brazil, which does not seem much given all the hassle involved.

"When we see that they have had to reject a significant number of the imported turkeys from Brazil it is easy to see the folly of the decision.

"It really is a shameful betrayal of British producers."

Mr Bourns said he could understand why consumers would want to save £6 or £7 during a recession.

"But they should have clear labels so they know where it is from,"

An ASDA spokesman said: "It's the quality and taste of our food that we care about most, no matter where it comes from."

So what is ASDA claiming? That British turkeys are not of good quality? They must really think that everyone is stupid bar them. All what counts for ASDA, aka British Wally World, is the profit that they can make from selling those bird (and other things).

ASDA's quality is non-existent with much of its food products, from my own experiences, ever since it has become part of Walmart and the service has gone down from a good one, as regards to staff, to one that is mediocre to actually bad, something that I have yet to encounter with Sainbury's, for example.

© 2009