Sign language as Borders butchers benefit from horsemeat scandal

Selkirk butcher George Emond talks about their rising trade due to the recent horse meat scandal.
Selkirk butcher George Emond talks about their rising trade due to the recent horse meat scandal.

A SELKIRK butcher has taken a satirical swipe at the horsemeat scandal, as well as promoting his industry in the Borders.

George Emond of Halliwell’s has made a shop window sign which tells members of the public to “Stop horsing around – use your local butcher” alongside photos of two racing horses.

The placard pokes fun at supermarkets such as Tesco, which discovered horse DNA exceeding 60 per cent in its spaghetti bolognese value meals, which were withdrawn from shelves last week.

Mr Emond, who gets all his meat from local sources, has seen an upsurge in business, with butchers across Scotland reporting increased sales of up to 25 per cent.

He told TheSouthern: “I would say we have seen an extra 50 to 60 people come through the doors last week, many because of the scandal.

“They have all being talking about it.

“They have come in and maybe bought one of our ready meals, and then seen something else they like and bought that.

“You can’t beat Scottish beef, and that is especially the case in the Borders where we have such a strong farming community.

“I have told people you will get rubbish if you pay the prices supermarkets charged.

“They can sell six burgers for £1 while ours are 90p for one burger. We have no chance of competing for price with supermarkets, but we can for quality.

“The scandal has had a spin-off benefit for Borders butchers.”

The controversy began on January 16 when the Food Standard Authority of Ireland reported that two food plants in Ireland and Yorkshire were found to be supplying products to supermarkets which contained horsemeat.

The relevation led to 10 million burgers being pulled off shelves in stores such as Tesco, Iceland, Lidl and Aldi.

On January 31, Burger King revealed its burgers had contained horse, while last Thursday Findus UK admitted some of its beef lasagnes contained 100 per cent equine.

The UK Food Standards Agency says it is working with councils and the NHS this week to test whether any horsemeat has been used in school or hospital meals.

Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for corporate improvement, Councillor Michael Cook, said the authority was monitoring the situation closely.

He added: “We have been assured by our suppliers, which are chosen as part of a national procurement process, that their supply chain does not include any of the abattoirs or companies known to be affected by the current crisis.”

None of the food processing plants found to have used horsemeat have supplied NHS Borders, the health board told us.