Louth butchers benefit from the horse meat scandal

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The horse meat scandal is sending shoppers back to traditional butchers in Louth - where people know where the meat has come from.

The news comes as the Federation of Small Businesses encourages people to Keep Trade Local by supporting their local butchers and other independent retailers.

Regulations such as Animal Passports ensure the butcher knows where the meat they are buying comes from and how the animal has been raised. Plus, the Food Standards Agency and environmental health officials can sample products in any butchers shop on demand.

Meridian Meats butchers in Louth is one firm that has seen a change in public habits. They report a large increase in their sales of mince and other beef products following the news that horsemeat has been found in some supermarket ready meals.

Jim Sutcliffe of Meridian Meats said: “We have seen a 10 per cent increase in our sales of mince as well as in our ready prepared meat pies and pasties since the news hit.”

He said that not only are all the products prepared on site at their Louth shop but that all the meat is fully traceable.

“We rear 60 per cent of our own beef on our farm in Tetford and the remainder comes form other local farms.”

Meridian Meats is a Tradition Breeds Meat Marketing Co accredited butcher, which means that they can display a certificate of traceability in the shop for everything they sell.

Jim said: “We can tell our customers what farm our meat comes from, how old it was, what breed it is where and when it was slaughtered, even what time and temperature the carcase arrived at!”

Meridian Meats is also a Q Guild butcher which means that they undergo routine hygiene and quality audits above the normal Environmental Health standards and have their products microbiological tested as well.

Jim said: “Not only have we seen an increase in the volume of meat sold but we have been asked for cooking advise too, which we are always happy to give”.

This all comes on the back of being recommended as one of the top places to buy steak by Tom Parker Bowles in the Sunday Mail. Jim said: “We were very pleased to be recommended and it has boosted our ever growing online side of the business by 40 per cent, which is very exiting as we are about to launch a new website very soon!”