Opportunities for EU pork as Trump trade war hots up

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The Trump inspired trade war between the US and China could offer opportunities for EU pork  producers according to Iain McDonald, economics analyst with Quality Meat Scotland.

Mr McDonald said it was an example of the ’significant trade volatility which can affect agricultural commodities when measures are aimed at unrelated industries’.

The recent trade conflict began in February with US President Donald Trump imposing tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium products to the US.

China failed to gain an exemption to these new tariffs and immediately retaliated by increasing tariffs on 128 US products with an annual value similar to its steel and aluminium trade.

“Since April 2, 120 of these products have faced an additional 15 per cent tariff on top of the current tariff, while eight products are now subject to an additional 25 per cent tariff,” said Mr McDonald.

“US pork falls under the latter category, meaning Chinese importers now have to pay a 37 per cent or 45 per cent tariff on top of the price charged by the US exporter, compared to 12 per cent or 20 per cent previously.”

To meet the new tariffs US producers would need to drop prices by 18 per cent if they were to remain competitive.

Volumes delivered in early 2018 suggest that over a year, this could work out at a revenue reduction of around $50m or around $2 per pig processed. China is the fifth biggest export market for US pork.

“This context may help explain the 8 per cent fall in US farmgate prices in the week that the tariff increase came into force,” added Mr McDonald.

“If the US finds it harder to sell pork into China as a result of the additional tariff, EU exporters will be well-placed to compete. Whereas the US had increased its exports to China in early 2018 by 10 per cent, EU shipments were down 10 per cent.

“If EU exporters can regain market share in China from the US, this would be likely to place some upwards pressure on farmgate pig prices across the EU.

“Given the EU Commission has forecast EU pigmeat production will be 0.8 per cent above 2017 levels and 2.6 per cent ahead of its 2013-17 average, this trade dispute could come at a good time for EU pig producers.”

Impact on the market

A second round of Chinese retaliatory tariffs on imports from the US, up to a value of about $50bn has now been announced.

Beef is included but no date of implementation has been set.

Based on a similar calculation to that for pork, if these tariffs were to enter force, it could result in US beef exporters foregoing as much as $12m in revenue to remain competitive in the Chinese market.

However, more positively for the US beef industry, Japan’s special safeguard clause which had raised the tariff on imported frozen beef from countries lacking a trade partnership with Japan has come to an end.

After Japanese imports exceeded a threshold level in the first quarter of 2018, the tariff on frozen beef was automatically increased to 50 per cent in August 2017. At the beginning of April, it was lowered back to 38.5 per cent.

BVA’s seven farm assurance principles

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To assist members of the veterinary profession and public to better understand farm assurance schemes on the basis of animal health and welfare, the British Veterinary Association has developed a farm assurance schemes policy position, setting out seven guiding principles.

Farm assurance schemes enable customers to make sustainable and ethically informed choices about the food they buy, and allow producers to demonstrate their food products have met independently certified standards at each stage of the supply chain from farm to fork. The breadth of UK farm assurance schemes is testament to the UK’s leadership in animal health and welfare standards. However, this variety could create a confusing customer experience when food shoppers are navigating both ethical and budgetary considerations as well as the shopping aisles.

BVA’s policy position has been developed as part of BVA’s Animal Welfare Strategy and sets out that the veterinary profession has a key role to play in helping inform the public about the animal health and welfare credentials of animal derived food. Based on the five welfare needs set out in the UK Animal Welfare Acts and highlighting the importance of welfare outcomes, through the new position’s seven principles BVA is encouraging consumers to consider schemes that include:

  1. Lifetime assurance – from farm to fork, ensuring that health and welfare is assured throughout the animal’s life from birth to slaughter.
  2. Welfare at slaughter – animals should be stunned before slaughter or, if permitted, meat or fish products are labelled as such. Animals should be transported the least possible distance to slaughter.
  3. Veterinary involvement – schemes that are underpinned by veterinary expertise and committed to continuous improvement of animal management and husbandry practices. These are crucial to the value of schemes in terms of animal health and welfare, public confidence and producer/farmer buy-in.
  4. Behavioural opportunity – schemes that strike the right balance between allowing animals to perform important behaviours and ensuring good health outcomes.
  5. Responsible use of antimicrobials and other medicines – consider whether schemes support responsible use of antimicrobials and what animal health and welfare requirements, such as disease prevention strategies, improved animal husbandry and management, are incorporated to help prevent the need for prescribing.
  6. Animal health and biosecurity – schemes that can evidence effective biosecurity plans, developed in collaboration with a veterinary surgeon, to prevent the spread of disease amongst animals, humans and their surroundings.
  7. Sustainability and the environment – incorporate environmental stewardship, such as the reduction of carbon emissions and the conservation of biodiversity.

Is there any justification for serving them cold?

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Sausage rolls get everywhere. Not just the pastry, which, following a moment of petrol station weakness on the A50, can work itself into your clothes’ every crevice, but culturally. From low-budget tributes to Oldham Athletic FC to online mockery of Cheryl Cole, be it Nigel Slater or hungry City traders, everyone it seems loves the subject of this month’s How to Eat. Even if, as the US grocery chain Trader Joe’s “genius” new invention “puff dogs” illustrates, not everyone is getting it right. Indeed, our best gastropubs are often little better, insisting on using venison and vodka in them or serving sausage rolls with (no, really) turnip dips. Luckily, How to Eat, the blog defining how best to eat Britain’s favourite foods, is here to stop such nonsense.

Hot & Cold

Like The One Show or Ed Sheeran, the cold sausage roll takes something potentially extraordinary (TV, music, sausage meat) and makes it dull and pallid. Immediately after consuming it, you feel stupid and duped, if not genuinely dyspeptic. The reason: fat.

Whether your roll is wrapped in puff or flaky pastry, that pastry will be heavy with butter that – like the pork fat in the filling – needs warming, melting and liberating to produce a moist roll of lubricious deliciousness. Warming it will also intensify the flavours in that seasoned sausage meat, which, for the record, should be far, far thicker than the pastry casing.

A cold sausage roll is dry, lumpen, largely flavourless; a taste of rain-lashed church fetes and grim funeral buffets. A warm sausage roll is its own self-contained world of outrageous sensory pleasure.

When and where

Sausage rolls are intimately linked with picnics, but erroneously so. Making the consumption of food as uncomfortable and impractical as possible, picnics are incredibly unpleasant, and, unless you go to ridiculous lengths or travel no further than your back garden, it is impossible to serve a warm sausage roll at one.

Things should be different at buffets; the sausage roll is a staple of the community hall trestle table. Sadly, however, too few caterers take sufficient pride in their work to replenish the rapidly cooling trays often enough. Even bothering to heat the rolls is rare.

It is easier to deliver a warm sausage roll to a guest in your home, but stock-up on Tasers and riot batons. Without these, it is impossible to transfer an oven-fresh tray of warm sausage rolls across a packed kitchen without at least 63% of them being snaffled before they hit the table. Ravenous dogs have better manners than party guests presented with hot sausage rolls.

Indeed, if you crave peace, simplicity and quality (note: this is one item where the industrially manufactured version is no match for the scratch-cooked equivalent), then the pub remains the perfect place to eat a fat fist of pastry-clad pork. Despite maverick attempts to fill sausage rolls with the components of a full English, this is not a breakfast item, nor is the foundations upon which you can build an evening meal (see below). But, at lunch, on its own, accompanied by a pint, the sausage roll is, arguably, the king of hot savoury snacks.

Inessential additions

A good sausage roll does not need augmentation. A combination of all-butter puff, coarsely ground rare-breed meat (retrieved from real sausages), herbs and maybe a tiny amount of softened onion, can produce astonishing rolls that stand on their own merits.

Despite this, there is endless unnecessary tinkering. From stilton worked into the pastry to mustard secreted under it, numerous potentially divisive additions are made to sausage rolls (sauces should be served on the side) that serve no purpose other than to flatter the ego of the chef who baked them or justify a recipe writer’s fee.

Elsewhere in WTF-corner, you will find “sausage rolls” made with chicken or game (the former boring, the latter dry and dense); spiked with bacon or black pudding (an unwelcome intrusion here); threaded with eggs like a gala pie; “tweaked” with wild mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and apple; or turned, using a whole sausage, into some sort of curious puff pastry “twists”. These are not sausage rolls.

Nor does the sausage roll need jazzing-up with a blast of smoked chilli or harissa or reworking with chorizo or merguez sausage. You do not need to bring the heat. The sausage roll is a comfort food whose uncomplicated nature, the way it offers an all-enveloping bearhug of crowd-pleasing savoury flavours, is the essence of its appeal. Sausage rolls are not meant to challenge you. They should convey an almost narcotic sense of warmth and well-being.

Served with

Fundamentally, you do not need any sides. However, if you insist, a dab of sauce or a loose blob of something on the chutney spectrum that you can dip your sausage roll into (crucially, leaving one hand free for your pint/paper/phone) is a sufficient counterpoint. Sauces should be applied sparingly, so that, rather than becoming dominant, they offer a little tingle of excitement at the edge of each mouthful. Think: dijon or grain mustard; HP or tomato sauce; piccalilli; apple sauce (most commercial versions are appalling); some of sort of dark, beery chutney; barbecue sauce, if you must.

None of the other things you commonly find sausage rolls served with make any sense. Favoured mayos (spicy, garlic etc) and coleslaws make this already fat-packed item cloying. Conversely, sides that are intended as some sort of perky palate cleanser – on an arc from red cabbage to watercress-based green salads – are a perversely worthy addition. The sausage roll is an indulgence. Embrace that. Alternating it with comparatively disappointing forkfuls of cold vegetable matter diminishes the pleasure, without adding anything significant.

The biggest mistake, however, is to treat the sausage roll as if it was a pie, using it as the centrepiece of a meal and pairing it with sides such as mash, chips, new potatoes, beans, carrots and peas. The key error, here, is that moist pies are self-saucing. They contain gravy that once released facilitates the fluid interaction of that meal’s components. A sausage roll does not. It is an entirely different, drier beast. Place in it a pie-meal context and that plate will get heavy-going very quickly.

Bradford school bans sausage rolls from packed lunches

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A school ban on sausage rolls and other “unhealthy” foods in pupils’ lunchboxes has divided opinion. The new policy at Shirley Manor Primary Academy in Bradford states parents will be called if banned foods are found in packed lunches.

Steve Fryer, whose son’s sausage roll was confiscated, said the school should “stick to teaching kids”. Others have praised the school for healthy eating, according to comments on the Bradford Telegraph and Argus.

The policy says pupils are encouraged to show their packed lunches to staff before and after they have eaten. It states pork pies, sausage rolls and pepperoni sticks should not be included and neither should fruit squash or flavoured water.

It says this is because they are high in salt and saturated fat and the school is keen to promote a balanced diet. Mr Fryer said his son’s sausage roll was removed last Monday and given back to him at the end of the day.

“He was given a ham sandwich instead but he hates ham so there’s no way he was going to eat it. “He ended up eating a dry crisp sandwich. How is that any healthier?”

‘Furious’

He added: “It’s my job as a parent to decide what my child eats, not the school’s. “The school won’t even compromise and allow us to send sausage rolls once or twice a week. I’m furious.”

Head teacher Heather Lacey said the vast majority of parents supported the ban and there had been a big increase in the number of children bringing in healthy lunches. Although schools are legally required to provide meals that comply with the government’s School Food Standards, they are able to set their own policies on packed lunches.

Pork, Lemon and Potato Kebabs Perfect For The BBQ

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Pork kebabs make a fantastic addition to any barbecue and they’re great because you can mix them up in so many different ways. You can add different flavourings, sauces and meats to make your kebab taste truly unique. How about adding baby new potatoes into the mix? Like the sound of that then read on. Read more

UK Not Ready for Brexit’s Impact on Food, Report Warns

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The UK is unprepared for the most complex ever change to its food system, which will be required before Brexit, according to a new briefing paper published by SPRU, the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex. Read more

Is pork good for you? It’s complicated

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How does pork fit into a healthy diet? For the answer, more than reading between the lines, you need to read between the slogans.

On one side there is “Eat More Bacon,” a cheer embraced by those rebelling against mainstream health advice who have either bought into an alternative all-you-can-eat approach to saturated fat or who want to snub wellness culture altogether. Emblazoned on T-shirts, throw pillows, bumper stickers and coffee mugs, the phrase has become more than a saying — it is a way of life. Read more

Why you should change your roast chicken for roast pork

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We know that roast chicken is your go-to comfort meal but pork roast offers a great alternative. Whether it’s roasted with chopped tart apples and hearty carrots or marinated in zesty lime juice and grilled, a pork roast offers a creative opportunity to combine different flavours.

Take a look at our top nine pork roast recipes to try your hand at this season from chefs like Giada De Laurentiis, Rachael Ray, Tyler Florence and Ina Garten. Read more

Quality Pork Butchers in Sheffield

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