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Horsemeat scandal is a boost for butchers across Exeter

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: February 14, 2013

Carol and Michael Lavis, of Courtney’s Pork Butchers

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BUTCHERS across Exeter are reporting increased trade in the wake of the supermarket horse meat scandal.

More and more shoppers are looking for the face-to-face service with butchers they can trust.

Tom Beswick, at Piper's Farm butchers in Magdalen Road, St Leonard's, said there had been an increase in business since the horse meat story first broke.

"I have to say we have seen a few new faces coming in and, of course, for many the horse meat thing has been the topic of conversation," he said.

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"People know our meat is all grass fed, comes from just down the road and that we are passionate about our meat and educating people about it.

"I know there is a question of price but rather than spend £1 on frozen lasagna from a supermarket, why not spend a bit more and buy mince from a butcher and make your own?"

Piper's Farm has been put forward for one of the Rural Oscars in the local food category.

It took the local food category for the South West in the 2012 Countryside Alliance Awards and now goes forward to the UK and Ireland final.

The commendation records that for 25 years Piper's Farm has been championing local food heritage, and supporting local family farms.

Other butchers have also seen an increase in trade. Mike Lavis, of Courtney's in Cowick Street, said: "Things have picked up, although I am not sure exactly why. People are certainly talking about the horse meat business."

Emma Hallamby, who with her husband Kevin runs Hartnell Fresh Foods in Longbrook Street, said: "We have had quite a few new faces coming in. We make our own burgers and people know they can trust us. We even do kangaroo burgers.

"We actually had a chap come in for a horse burger. I don't know if it was a wind up or he just wanted to try one – but we couldn't help him."

MPs have lined up to urge consumers to buy local produce to ensure they are not inadvertently eating horse meat.

The call to buy British, which could be a boon for Devon's farming sector, came as the Government sought to allay fears that contaminated meat was being sold in supermarkets.

Exeter MP and former environment minister Ben Bradshaw said: "I would currently not buy or eat processed beef products, given the Government can give no assurances about what is in them. If people want to be confident about the meat they're eating they should buy fresh British meat."

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