Lamb supply shortage imminent

Asda has only enough British lamb to last until the end of this week as fears over a supply shortage grow.

Asda has only enough British lamb to last until the end of this week. The supermarket told MTJ that in the aftermath of the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak, the ban on moving livestock means that while "lamb is fine until the end of the week" the retailer has not ruled out importing meat to cover any shortfall, if processing does not begin again next week.

Asda said it is "hoping that our suppliers will be able to apply for licenses" for slaughter, and supplies of British meat will resume. But it has not ruled out extra imports: "We'll have to play it by ear," said a spokesperson, "obviously we wouldn't want to leave customers without anything to buy."

Smithfield wholesale market has not issued prices for lamb this week. So little British product is available, traders are importing meat and prices are fluctatuing wildly, was the reason given.

Beef prices are up at Smithfield generally but the most dramatic price rise is for foreribs, which have risen from a maximum price of 470p/kg last Tuesday to 746p/kg today.

Meanwhile, Tesco has insisted it has enough British meat and would not speculate on supply problems: "Because of our logistics and supply chain knowledge, things are absolutely fine at the moment, it's not a problem. It's only a couple of days and we haven't had a problem so far," said a spokesperson.