MLC market analyst Tony Fowler offers retailers statistical ammunition for defending themselves against allegations of profiteering during FMD. Fowler's latest farm to retail price spread calculations show margins on most carcase meat and bacon were narrower in June than in May. However critics could point out the tightening on beef, pork and bacon was similar to the normal seasonal movement, as was the widening spread on lamb, and all the margins were noticeably bigger than a year earlier. Retailers might retort there is doubt as to the accuracy of the farm price estimates Fowler used. Some of the major processors have been grumblihng for weeks about MLC's livestock price reports, claiming its buyer surveys have not detected the cost of the best cattle, sheep and pigs, and have missed the hidden expenses created by unusually variable quality of the other carcases. On the other hand producers' spokesmen have claimed MLC reports exaggerate the farmgate returns so Fowler cannot win either way. {{M/E MEAT }}

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