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Processor Code of Practice in Cattle Purchases

18 February 2015

UK - British meat processors and farmers have set out the terms in a code of practice to govern purchasing of cattle.

At last year’s Beef Summit, hosted by agriculture minister George Eustice (pictured), the British Meat Processors Association gave an undertaking to develop a processor code of practice for the purchase of cattle, aimed at enhancing transparency and trust in relations between processors and livestock producers.

The code is voluntary and does not cover prices.

It has two main features:

  • it commits individual processor signatories to being open and clear about their own company’s terms and conditions of trading, and
  • signatories undertake to give 12 weeks’ notice of changes to these terms and conditions.

Cattle processors across the UK - whether or not they are member companies of the BMPA - are now being encouraged to sign up to the code.

There are also other parties in the beef supply chain, including retailers, food service companies and renderers, who we urge to operate according to the principles and in the spirit of the code in order to help to minimise volatility and uncertainty in the supply chain.

BMPA President, Peter Mitchell, said: “Responsible and forward-thinking processors understand the need to be open about their terms and conditions of trading with their producer suppliers and to give reasonable notice of changes to them.

“Signing up to the code is a visible sign of this recognition, and a commitment to constructive relations with beef producers in order to improve the efficiency of the beef supply chain and so together we can better meet the needs of the marketplace.”

NFU Livestock Board Chairman, Charles Sercombe said: “This is a welcome step in the right direction as we continue to seek more openness and transparency in the supply chain.

“What is critical to our members is the stability that this code should bring, which will allow producers to plan ahead and market their cattle without sudden or unexpected changes to conditions of sale.

“We hope this will help beef producers to manage the volatility we have seen in recent years and provide a clearer understanding of the terms and conditions that are on offer.”

Steve Durrant, Vice Chairman of the renderers association, FABRA UK, said: “All efforts to improve transparency and promote fair and responsible trade should be applauded. As an integral part of the food supply chain our members welcome initiatives of this type and we fully endorse this new code of practice.”

As the host of last year’s Beef Summit, Defra food and farming minister George Eustice MP said: “I commend the positive and constructive discussions between the BMPA and the NFU that have led to the introduction of this voluntary code of practice which aims to increase transparency and trust between processors and livestock producers in the beef supply chain.

“The code should help to improve people’s confidence in the system. It is a good step forward and I encourage processors to commit to it and retailers and renderers to get behind it and give it their support.”

TheMeatSite News Desk

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