'You can't beat locally sourced quality produce'
BUYING local produce is even more important in the wake of the horse meat scandal.
That is the opinion of people in the Greater Bristol meat industry.
Confidence in imported processed meat products has plummeted as burgers and frozen lasagnes have been found to have high proportions of horse in them, despite being sold as beef.
But as trust in some supermarket-sold lines has fallen, people appear to have been showing more loyalty to their local butcher.
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Dave Kelly, at Ruby & White on Whiteladies Road, Clifton, told The Post: "To be honest, we've had a good week. The scandal has certainly not helped the supermarkets.
"At Ruby & White we can trace all of our meat back to where it is bred and I could even tell you what it ate the day before it was slaughtered.
"You cannot beat quality, locally- sourced produce.
"Where we are in the West Country, we've got a massive amount of good quality produce to choose from. We think it's important to buy everything as locally as possible and I don't see why you have to go further afield."
Another spin-off from the scandal has been that some curious customers have even been asking for horse meat, which can be sold legally in the UK.
Mr Kelly added: "I'd say we've had between six and ten people asking for horse meat. A few of those were joking but the rest, I would say, were serious requests.
"Perhaps they're people who are well travelled and have tried it abroad?
"If we have any more requests, I might have to think about getting a lump of it in.
"But why not eat horse? It's a bit like venison – it's lean and low-cholesterol. It's just whether you can get over the fact that it's horse."
Bristol food companies such as the award-winning Pieminster also have local produce at their heart.
The company states: "We make great pies using fresh, local ingredients from farmers we trust. But that's not the whole story. As a growing business we have a responsibility to be good to our suppliers.
"Tristan (Hogg, co-founder) has spent a long time working with local farmers and other suppliers to make sure we source the best meat and veg possible for our pies. We deal with farmers who care for their livestock and are as local to our Bristol base as possible."
The scandal has so far seen supermarket chains Tesco, Lidl, Aldi and Iceland withdraw some products.
Results from the testing for horse DNA are due to be published by the Food Standards Authority on Friday.