Judge and Jury: The ban is lifted, but the relaunch of UK beef was far from well done

Why have the UK authorities left it so late to work on the relaunching of UK beef in Europe, asks Nicholas Lunt, executive director of Brussels-based EurO&M.

Why have the UK authorities left it so late to work on the

relaunching of UK beef in Europe, asks Nicholas Lunt, executive director

of Brussels-based EurO&M.



It was a gift to the tabloids, but the German government’s decision to

ignore the EC’s ending of the ban on UK beef exports was more than just

another opportunity for the tabloids to bash the boche.



The repercussions for the UK beef industry are as life threatening as

the currently under-worked British abattoirs once were. So far, France

has followed Germany’s line and others may well follow.



Even if the Germans are forced to change their stance by the EC, this

was not the news the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) wanted to hear

at the beginning of its relaunch campaign which started last week with

UK-wide barbecues and other meaty events.



While Germany has never been a major market for the UK’s former pounds

520 million per annum beef export industry, the impact on UK beef

exports to other countries is bound to be negative. So what has the MLC

been doing to tenderise continental opinions in the months leading up to

the lifting of the ban? Not an awful lot, it would seem.



Money has certainly been spent in the UK in the past weeks - including

getting the Prince of Wales to host journalists on a tour of a farm and

an abattoir. However, the first big politically-backed event targeting

the UK’s EU partners will be a reception at the British Embassy in

Paris, hosted by Nick Brown, Minister of Agriculture, on 2 September.

Why so little so late?



My contacts in the European beef industry cannot believe that the UK

hasn’t been more aggressive in preparing the ground for the

relaunch.



Everyone knows how good UK beef can be. In fact it had joined that

select band of high quality UK products - malt whisky, salmon and grouse

- which command top prices because they are very good and because they

are British.



Surely this was the moment for a pan-European, Government backed

campaign - possibly along the lines of the ’Best of British’. Because

the brand under threat here is Britain, not beef. It is the UK

authorities - health; agricultural; veterinary - that are distrusted,

not the poor cattle.



The Government that launched Cool Britannia should surely have seen the

threat and the opportunity. Let’s hope for the UK’s beleaguered farmers

that they act now - colleagues in Germany are desperate for a good

Aberdeen Angus steak.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in