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Packaging error blamed for Welsh beef mislabelling after Trading Standards probe

07 Nov 2021 3 minute read
Picture by Tudur Evans / Twitter

Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) has revealed it took taken immediate action to address a potential case of mislabelling of imported beef

On Monday 18 October HCC liaised with local Trading Standards officers and visited the premises of Llechwedd Meats in Anglesey which recently found itself at the centre of a mislabelling row.

A company that mis-labelled meat as Welsh have said that they “weren’t trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes”.

Questions were raised about the company’s produce after a picture was posted on social media showing both Australian and Welsh Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status.

Cattle must have been born and reared in Wales, be fully traceable, and be processed in a HCC-approved facility in order to qualify and be labelled as Welsh Beef, and this procedure is subject to regular audits.

HCC Chief Executive Gwyn Howells told Business News Wales: “We take any potential case of mislabelling meat very seriously, although it is thankfully rare. The Welsh red meat brands are vital to our farmers and processors, and their integrity is of paramount importance.

“In this instance a packaging error was identified and we are reassured that measures have been put in place to prevent a recurrence. We continue to work closely with Trading Standards officers, who are the responsible authority for enforcing food labelling legislation.

“We continue to be vigilant and we thank members of the public for bringing issues to our attention.

“The Welsh red meat sector has traceability systems second to none. This includes a full audit system for processors who are within the PGI scheme for both beef and lamb. Also, in recent years, we have added an additional level of forensic science to the process. Using this award-winning technology, we can spot-check meat at any stage in the supply chain and identify with an extremely high degree of accuracy if the animal was born and reared in Wales.”

Genuine mistake

Following the social media post last month, the award-winning family butchers said that it was a “genuine mistake” after an employee stuck the wrong label on.

They said that they had struggled to recruit staff due to Brexit and the pandemic and that a new member of staff required additional training.

Managing Director Norman Roberts said at the time: “The Welsh label went on the pack and it was just a genuine mistake by a new employee who has been working for us for two weeks. Nobody picked it up.

“If we had put on the label that the meat was produced in Wales, that would have been totally wrong. We said where the meat had come from [Australia]” he said.

“I’m a farmer myself and all my friends are farmers. We weren’t trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes.

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