BUTCHERS have seen a dramatic increase in custom after the news of the supermarket horsemeat scandal broke.
Customers have been shunning supermarket meat, preferring independent butchers’ shops after it was discovered that horsemeat had been found in supermarket ready meals and burgers.
Many had reported seeing a spike in trade over the weekend following the latest news that Findus beef lasagne contained 100 per cent horse.
Phil Checketts, managing director of Checketts of Ombersley, said sales were well up on Friday and Saturday as people questioned where their meat had come from.
“This (horse meat scandal) couldn’t happen at a butcher’s who buys British because the procedures are so strict here.
“It is a matter of trust really, I don’t think people are just going to turn vegetarian but they are going to be much more choosy and careful about what they buy.”
Calls to ban meat imports have been rejected by environment secretary Owen Paterson but he said he would be taking legal action in Europe over the scandal.
The horse meat was believed to have entered the elaborate supply chain throughout the Continent from two Romanian abbatoirs The Food Standards Agency has said there is no evidence to suggest the horse meat detected in beef products posed a danger to humans, although there is concern about the drugs which could have been used on the animals.
Ian Narraway, owner of family butchers Narraway’s of St Johns, said he had served an extra 45 to 50 people on Saturday with many telling him they would no longer shop for meat in a supermarket.
“We had someone in this morning who said she will never trust supermarkets again, of course a lot of people might just say that but this time it seems to be from the heart.
“We have seen a big influx of people since Thursday but this has been going on for some years now as more people want to know where their meat comes from.
“These supermarkets now have meat products coming from the other side of Europe, being manufactured in France and Ireland, they are losing the traceability factor.”
The scandal has received a mixed response to our readers on Facebook.
Mandy Morris was among those considering going back to her local butcher.
“I never tended to buy ready meals or cheap burgers anyway so not too bothered personally by what's happened. Prepare food from scratch where possible.
“That said I am being more careful what cuts I buy, and am considering going back to buy from a local butcher as I am more confident as to the traceability of the meat.
Kay Kavanagh said she would love to use a local butcher, but doesn’t really have one and was worried they could be more expensive.
And Wendy Coggan was among those who have already made the switch.
“I buy all my meat from my local butcher and am quite happy knowing where my beef comes from, right down to the farm and the registration number of the cow.
“If I want to eat burgers or whatever, it's about two minutes' work to make them myself from mince from the very same animal.
“It's not the presence of horse meat that I object to in ready meals (I've eaten it before now and it was quite tasty), it's the poor quality of all the ingredients. I know that any ready meal doesn't match up to something that I can make myself. It's a no-brainer.”
Similary The Superdrome, Toys & Games Worcester wrote: “We stopped buying meat a supermarkets years ago. When it comes to fresh food we're not really impressed by the pile-it-high-sell-it-cheap philsophy.”