In February this year, controversy erupted after it emerged that some retailers were using lamb from New Zealand in their ready meals, despite the labelling on the packaging implying that the lamb was British.
Some Waitrose and Aldi ready meals were labelled as 'produced in Britain' and 'British classic' despite the lamb origin being labelled on the back as New Zealand. Following outrage, Waitrose attempted to clarify by posting on social media that the 'British' part of the name of the range meant the origin of the recipe. Unsurprisingly, customers weren't thrilled with this explanation.
But why is it so important to buy British?
Sheep farming in Britain goes back to Neolithic times, and continues to be one of our most important industries. With British standards of farming welfare among the highest in the world, it is important to support British farmers to ensure that these standards remain high, and that consumers are buying lamb that they know has been raised with welfare and quality in mind.
Customers have a right to know where their food comes from, an especially important factor in meat production. The horsemeat scandal in 2013, where horse meat was found in several beef products in major supermarkets, showed the impact of what can happen when supply chains experience weak traceability and fraud. In an age where food crime is one of the most lucrative crimes, it is vital that consumers are protected in regards to quality and origin.
Buying British lamb not only supports British farmers, but also high welfare standards - so don't be sheepish, buy British!