Fake free range pork deception shocks East Anglian pork producers
10th Apr 2019 / By Andrea Vickers
Jimmy and Ali Butler, who manage Blythburgh Free Range Pork in Suffolk, have just appeared in an episode of BBC’s Fake Britain which featured a case of food fraud where two Nottinghamshire men were convicted of selling EU pork as local free range produce to an unsuspecting public.
William and Andrew Smith, joint owners of Newark based ‘Barn Bacon’, were convicted in 2017 of falsely selling bacon and other pork products as free range at markets, festivals and in farm shops. Instead of rearing their own pigs, as their website stated, the company was buying in meat from another wholesaler, found to originate from Denmark, Poland and Germany. They were found to be repackaging it at their facility and selling it as local, farm fresh and free range. The owners were sentenced for fraud and given suspended prison sentences of 24 and 18 months respectively and ordered to do 200 hours community service each.
Claudine White from Notts County Council said at the time “This company’s blatant false claims have allowed it to sell their bacon products at a higher price than would be expected for standard products and gave it access to pitches at festivals to the detriment of legitimate traders. The judge said the pair behaved in a thoroughly dishonest manner and their deceit was persistent and sophisticated. This prosecution sends a strong warning out to traders carrying out misleading practices that they will be brought before the courts.”
Jimmy argued that selling cheaply produced pork as free range would make the consumer think there was no difference to the product taste and quality which would kill their market, as consumers would not be willing to pay what it cost to produce it. He said what they were doing was illegal and immoral and that they deserved the sentence that they got.
You can see the section on the programme here at 13:10 minutes in.