BUTCHERS around North Yorkshire have experienced an increase in trade following the national horsemeat scandal, writes Lydia Winter.

Food inspectors haver found horsemeat in frozen burgers stocked by UK supermarket chains including Tesco, Iceland and Lidl.

Frozen food firm Findus last week recalled and destroyed thousands of beef lasagnes made by a French supplier, after some were found to contain up to 100 per cent horsemeat.

The scandal, which has affected countries around Europe, with processed food products being removed from shelves in Britain, France and Sweden, has seen shoppers move away from processed food and towards local butchers in some areas.

Melanie Wright, from Derek Fox Butchers in Malton, said the shop had seen an increase in trade, with more customers keen to ask about the product itself.

She said: “Many people are asking about the traceability of our produce, wanting to know where our meat comes from.”

Staff at Malton butchers Overton’s Quality said business had picked up over the weekend following the Findus announcement.

One employee, who did not wish to be named, said: “Many people were complaining about the horsemeat scandal.

“They say that they will not be using supermarket meat again – but I suspect that is just talk. These stories are good for us and will hopefully get people back into high street butcher’s shops.”

Elsewhere, Tony Neary’s Butchers in York said they had experienced a slight increase in trade, especially for cheaper end cuts of meat.

Early indications are that the contaminated meat came from Romania.

Call for better labelling

The National Beef Association (NBA) yesterday called for more precise labelling of products in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.

It said farmers and consumers were badly let down by the “murky” side of the processing industry which “routinely substituted beef with cheap, unregulated horsemeat”.

The organisation suggested all UK beef should be labelled with the words “United Kingdom origin” printed on its packaging.

Chris Mallon, national director of the NBA, urged consumers to prevent “further cheating” by suppliers by ensuring the beef they purchased was taken exclusively from cattle born, reared and processed in the UK.

He said British farmers ensured the provenance of cattle produced inside the UK was “second to none”.

He said: “The integrity of their product contrasts hugely with the horsemeat that has infiltrated the domestic food chain as a result of careless, or unscrupulous, actions undertaken by participants in a supply chain which is understood to cover companies in Poland, Luxembourg, Romania, France and the Republic of Ireland.”