NFU writes to The Guardian on concerns raised over Polish poultry supplier

26 June 2023

An image of James Mottershead holding a chicken

NFU Poultry Board chair James Mottershead writes to The Guardian following the publication of an article raising concerns over meat sourced from a Polish firm which supplies major UK supermarkets.

The article - 'UK supermarket supplier’s chickens given antibiotics critical for humans' - covers findings from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and ITV that a major Polish supplier of chicken to UK supermarkets, Lidl, Asda and Iceland, is sourcing chickens from farms that use fluoroquinolone antibiotics.

We have written to The Guardian to clarify that the product referred to in the article is sourced from Poland, and to highlight the high health and welfare standards adhered to by British poultry producers.

Read the letter below:

To the editor,

The product referred to in your article ‘UK supermarket supplier’s chickens given antibiotics critical for humans’ originates from Poland, not the UK where our farmers work to vastly higher health and welfare standards.

We have a proud track record as a progressive, resilient and innovative poultry industry where the health and welfare of our birds and food safety is the main priority.

For example, our industry is delivering on the safe and responsible use of antibiotics with a 95.5% reduction in the use of critically important antibiotics and a 74% reduction in the total use of antibiotics.

Meanwhile, over 95% of chicken produced here in the UK is Red Tractor assured, which means birds can roam in barns that provide natural light and have access to enrichments. Our stocking density, the number of birds allowed per square metre, is lower than in Europe and Red Tractor goes beyond this with a lower stocking density that the UK's legal limit.

Shoppers wanting to buy poultry products produced to high standards can do so by supporting British farmers and looking out for the Red Tractor logo on packaging.

James Mottershead, NFU Poultry Board chair

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