By Gerald Heneghan
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has urged Britain to keep trade local in response to the ongoing horsemeat scandal.
As the UK and Ireland continue to be rocked by the widespread contamination of beef products, the FSB re-launched its campaign on the issue to highlight the contribution of local high street shops to the economy.
John Walker, national chairman of the organisation, claimed it was unsurprising that the scandal had prompted a rise in sales at local butchers.
“Independent shops often provide a better quality product – it may well have been sourced from a local farm and in many cases won’t have travelled far to reach the shop,” he said.
“Shopping locally not only supports the shops on the high street, but the farmer or manufacturer down the road too and it puts the money spent back into the local economy.”
The FSB pointed to figures that indicate for each pound spent with a local supplier, £1.76 is contributed to the area’s economy.
Local butcher and member of the body Michael Patterson spoke about the detrimental effect supermarket price cutting was having on high street meat retailers.
“With the strategy of supermarkets aiming to continually undercut prices, it is very difficult, almost impossible, to offer quality meat products at low prices,” he said.
Results of widespread meat product testing were revealed by the British Retail Consortium on Friday (February 15th) and showed that only five products tested positive for the presence of horsemeat.
These were the same own brand items that had already been notified to the Food Standards Agency and withdrawn from sale.