Butchers are the key to solving 'food fraud'

The presence of unidentified animal products in more than a fifth of meat samples shows that it has never been more important to buy from a trusted local butcher.

That’s the view of award-winning family firm G.N Badley & Sons, which has been trading in Trench, Telford, for more than 40 years.

The Food Standards Agency has revealed that more than one in five of the samples it tested last year contained ‘unidentified’ DNA from animals not mentioned on the packaging.

Samples came from dozens of retailers, including three supermarkets - and in most cases, the unspecified meat products were much cheaper cuts than those on the label.

Simon Badley, managing director of the family-run butcher’s business in Gibbons Road, said: “This worrying report emphasises the important role which local butchers must continue to play.

“It also highlights why independent butchers have seen an increase in trade while many other retailers struggle.

“A proper butcher can say exactly where their meat has come from, because they probably unloaded the lorry carrying it – and customers want that confidence.

“Knowing where your meat comes from is more important to people than ever, and local butchers have the sort of in-depth knowledge about meat that you won’t find anywhere else.”

G.N. Badley & Sons sources its turkeys, chickens and geese from Shrewsbury, while beef and pork are sourced from various farms across Shropshire and Staffordshire.

Mr Badley believes traceability of meat has never been more important, and says savvy shoppers want to support independent traders who buy from local suppliers, and have expert knowledge which is built on years of experience.

“It’s clear from this latest report that there is still a lack of transparency in many parts of the food industry.

“Five years on from the horsemeat scandal, when processed beef sold by many UK supermarkets were found to contain significant amounts of horse DNA, you would hope the system had been tightened up to prevent this from happening.

“But it would appear not to be the case. When shoppers still cannot trust the labelling on a significant proportion of mass-market meat products, it’s a sad state of affairs.

“Local independent butchers need to fly the flag for farm-to-fork traceability, and lead the fight against these frightening levels of food fraud.”

G.N Badley & Sons was named one of the top three butchers in the county earlier this year, in a competition run by the Shropshire Star, and voted on by readers.