Defra secretary Eustice praises poultry industry

Defra secretary Eustice praises poultry industry

Defra secretary, George Eustice, has praised the British poultry industry on its ability to redirect its business while also saying that key workers in the foodservice industry could have access to testing.

Defra secretary, George Eustice. Image: British Poultry Council.

Speaking on BBC 4’s Today programme, Eustice said: “The important thing to recognise is that there were meat processors and dairy companies that were particularly exposed to the service sector. Some of them were actually very successful at redirecting their supplies to satisfy increased demand into retailers. The poultry industry managed to reorientate itself, as did the beef industry.”

“If you don’t have the capacity there, then you won’t have the test. I was in touch with Matt Hancock yesterday (April 28th) and now that the capacity is there, for instance, he was also telling me that key worker sectors such as the food industry, which is a huge industry, could now get access to tests. I’m confident that once the capacity is there, and there’s always a slight lag, then the demand will be there for many of these settings and we’re confident that we will be doing 100,00 tests.”

“The prioritisation of food supply is essential during these difficult times. Food supply cannot stop; neither can our industry workers. In order to feed the nation, we have to ensure the protection of our people – who are our most vital asset – and our standards.”

The British Poultry Council (BPC) has since thanked Eustice for recognising the hard work of key workers in the poultry sector in the UK.

A statement on the BPC website read: “We are delighted that the poultry industry has been praised by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice MP, who spoke to the Today Programme on the provision of testing and support for the food industry in the face of Covid-19.

“Eustice used the poultry meat industry as an example for the successful redirection of food service and hospitality supply to retail in order to meet consumer demand.

“Eustice also declared that key workers in the food sector will have access to testing in order to ensure their wellbeing as they continue to put food on every table across the nation.

“The prioritisation of food supply is essential during these difficult times. Food supply cannot stop; neither can our industry workers. In order to feed the nation, we have to ensure the protection of our people – who are our most vital asset – and our standards.

“We are grateful that the Secretary of State has publicly recognised the extraordinary lengths our key workers and businesses continue to go to in order to feed the nation during these extraordinary circumstances. From farmers and vets who look after our birds, through butchers and engineers who keep our factories working, to drivers and distributors who put food on every table, it is essential that we encourage our food heroes to continue feeding the nation whilst ensuring their safety and wellbeing, despite the challenges Covid-19 presents.”

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