Horsemeat scandal: You can trust us say Norfolk butchers

PUBLISHED: 12:50 16 February 2013 | UPDATED: 12:50 16 February 2013

Jamie Archer with his gold award winning Chilli sausages. Picture: Denise Bradley

Jamie Archer with his gold award winning Chilli sausages. Picture: Denise Bradley


Butchers across Norfolk have joined forces to spell out the benefits to customers of shopping local to buy their meat as the scandal over horsemeat continues to rage.

With more cases of horsemeat being found in meat products emerging, local butchers, who have seen a sales surge since the scandal erupted, are positively advertising the fact that shoppers can trust the meat they buy over the counter.

The move comes as an industry campaign was also launched to promote the best of British beef, lamb, pork, and bacon.

Jamie Archer, owner of Archer’s Butchers on Plumstead Road, Norwich, has seen a 15pc increase in sales “right across the board” since last year, which he partly attributed to the scandal. He now gets around 2,500 customers per week.

“I think people are concerned about the state of the meat industry in general having had the wool pulled over their eyes like that,” Mr Archer said.

“For people like us who’ve always striven to do things the right way it’s paying off for us now really. Provenance has always been an important part of our business.”

Mr Archer said he sources his meat from local farms and knows the farmers personally. “I know exactly where the animals come from and what they’ve been fed on,” he added.

Tony Perkins, owner of Tony Perkins Butchers in Attleborough, said he had seen a similar sales boost with about a dozen new faces coming into the shop every day.

“Most of them have not necessarily been worried about the horsemeat,” he said. “It’s the deception behind it. There’s a bit of a lack of trust now.”

He said direct sourcing from the farmer is key to getting quality meat and all his beef comes from one farm in Winfarthing less than 10 miles away.

“It’s good beef and I’ve been down to the farm and seen the cattle in the stalls and checked them out,” he said. “I can trust the farmer to send me good stock.”

And he said he hoped his new customers will stay with him even after the scandal has died down.

“Sometimes memories are quite short, but I hope that if they try us out they can appreciate the difference in quality as well,” he said.

James Rutland, owner of M & M Rutland Butchers in Melton Constable, and EDP Food Award Butcher of the Year, whose meat is free range and sourced from Norfolk and Suffolk, said he had been selling more homemade ready meals and burgers.

He added that he only buys whole carcasses of meat to ensure quality.

“You know exactly where it’s been born, who its parents were and where it was slaughtered,” he said. “People have perhaps started to realise that cheap meat is just that – it’s cheap.

“It’s been grown cheaply. It’s been fed, reared, raised and transported cheaply. Everything on the whole has been done on the cheap and in the end you get a cheap product.”

He said people are “disappointed and shocked” by the horsemeat scandal and encouraged people to go to their local butchers as they are “knowledgeable and passionate about their own products”.

Icarus Hines, owner of Icarus Hines Butchers in Cromer and Sheringham, has been in the meat industry for 37 years. He said sales had gone up 20pc with a particular spike in beef burgers.

“I’m not anti-supermarkets as they’re part of modern life,” he said. “What I don’t like is the idea of people being lied to. In our country we’re very fickle about animals and for most people there’s a line you don’t cross. Eating a horse is probably crossing a line. Some of these bigger companies are cutting corners and sourcing products which they shouldn’t be. It shows a lack of respect for their customers.”

He added: “I think the most important thing is that this is making people re-evaluate where they buy their food from and gives them a little time to think about their lifestyle,” he said.

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  • There are many countries in the world that eat horse meat. As Wayne says it is very nutritious and low in fat. I would have nothing against eating a horse steak, supposed to be slightly sweet, but unless I buy online I don't know where I could get it. This has IMO all blown up because of mis-labelling.

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    Christopher Neave

    Saturday, February 16, 2013

  • Most of us, thankfully, equate eating horses with eating your dog or cat, which in this supposedly enlightened era, is not the thing to do. Having said that, I would like to ask the local butchers' if they only make sausages from good cuts of meat and not stuff them with offal. I know there are fillers added as well - such as wheat.

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    kenneth jessett

    Saturday, February 16, 2013

  • i trust the butchers but I would really like some re-assurance from Norse about the meat in their school dinners after the trouble in lincolnshire. Could some one please confirm that Norse's food has been tested and it's what it says on the tin?

    Report this comment


    Saturday, February 16, 2013

  • Easy answer dont eat meat,never have and never will!!!

    Report this comment


    Sunday, February 17, 2013

  • I saw a butcher on TV saying that you can trust your butcher's meat because they can trace its journey to him. I get all that and then he showed a massive joint of beef which was tagged to show where it was reared, slaughtered etc. What I hope somebody can answer for me is in any butchers there are all sizes of unwrapped joints on display ready to buy but they're not all tagged individually so I really only have their word for it don't I?

    Report this comment


    Saturday, February 16, 2013

  • I don't think it matters whether you have a good butcher or not, as meat these days is such a poor product, which is full of antibiotics and growth hormones and goodness knows what else. We keep being told that we have the best animal husbandry in the world, but how can that be when our animals have been rife with every identifiable disease known to man. The stuff stinks in my opinion and I will no longer eat it.

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    John L Norton

    Sunday, February 17, 2013

  • I would fully recomend Impsons in Swaffham. Go and see Fred and George they are so helpful in every way.

    Report this comment

    Johnny Norfolk

    Saturday, February 16, 2013

  • This,as usual, is just another non story. Butchers meat has never been in question, the recent finds of horsemeat have all come from processed products. Horsemeat by the way is very nutritious & low in fat. It's not surprising that certain manufacturers & their suppliers go down this route when people want food products at the lowest possible price. If you want to eat budget ,ready made lasagne or the cheapest burgers ,you shouldn't be surprised at what they're made from

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    Tudor Bushe

    Saturday, February 16, 2013

  • I'm glad people are trusting their butchers. It's about time that the mass produced products were questioned. I'm glad that the corrupt, cruel and disgusting practices of the companies involved is having light shed upon it. BTW- the whole point of sausages traditionally was to use up the 'left over' bits of the pig- what is wrong with offal? You eat the beast's buttocks without a qualm!

    Report this comment

    Fluffy Cat

    Monday, February 18, 2013

  • You get what you pay for at the end of the day, and we are lucky to have butchers who are trustworthy because you most certainly can't trust the government to crack down on big business.

    Report this comment

    Police Commissioner ???

    Saturday, February 16, 2013

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