It is ironic that the article criticising the meat industry for its treatment of agency staff appears at the same time as a letter written by Stephen Robertson, director general of the British Retail Consortium.

I'm sure that his comment that the ombudsman will cost 2% or 3% more for their food shopping is an exaggeration. However, regardless of the cost, ensuring that the farmer or processor is paid fairly and food standards are improved is essential.

The alternative is to be shocked every few months at the poor standards of the most commoditised of products, or the poor treatment of people, be they here or abroad.

If demands for cheaper and cheaper food continue, it is the weakest businesses that will pay and then don't be surprised that human beings take short cuts or treat people badly. It has always been the case in our society that the weakest get treated the worst when there is not enough to go round.

It is not good enough to forever say the supply base must become more efficient. We must start valuing food more, particularly meat, and ensure the supply base is fit and well and can afford to operate best practice.

Brian Stein, group chief executive, Samworth Brothers