Shoppers who have got used to buying half-price packs of bacon and cut-price pork could soon be in for a nasty surprise.

New EU-wide rules on the use of sow stalls, which come into force on 1 January 2013, will add an average of £4 to the production costs of each pig - and are set to put an end to super-cheap European pork, producer organisation Bpex has warned. 

British producers have been compliant with the new rules since 1999, but many European Union member states are only now starting to convert, and that is likely to put huge upward pressure on the price of imported pork, which currently makes up the bulk of promotions. The price difference between British pork and European imported pork would be far smaller in the future, said Bpex director Mick Sloyan. 

“We might still see some short-term promotions, but heavy long-term promotions on processed products such as bacon and cooked hams will no longer be possible,” he added.

To ensure non-compliant pork doesn’t find its way into supermarkets after 2013, Bpex has teamed up with producers from Denmark, France and the Netherlands - all of which are expected to be fully compliant by the end of 2012 - to put pressure on retailers to ensure the products they stock are not illegal.
“We will name and shame,” said Sloyan. “This is not a question of welfare standards it’s basic compliance with the law.”

Bpex chairman Stewart Houston added that retailers would be considered “guilty until proven innocent”. 

“This isn’t just an issue for own-label supply, either retailers need to know the branded products they’re selling aren’t illegal,” he said. 

Bpex has put together a report into the new sow stall rules and their impact on the supply chain that it is sending out to retailers. 

It will compile a second report in partnership with Dutch, Danish and French producers in 2012.