Gamekeepers have risen to meet the challenge of strict food hygiene regulations that came in at the start of the year, but prices have not gone up as a result.

A national survey by the Countryside Alliance's Game-to-Eat campaign shows that 93% of game producers are up to speed on the new rules.

Prices have remained static, though, according to the UK's biggest wild game processor, Rick Bestwick. "We have quoted the same price as last year, but smaller suppliers may not be so competitive, because they had no overheads before."

Enquiries about game were up 30% year-on-year, he added. The market hit £38m last season, and another increase is anticipated as grouse shoots gear up for the Glorious Twelfth.

However, smaller "Freds in sheds" have had to absorb the cost of compliance. Alexia Robinson of Game-to-Eat warned that many were turning to direct sales to recoup those costs.

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