Sticking to the same prices Supermarkets accused of profiteering in the early weeks of FMD can point to the latest price spread calculations by MLC economist Tony Fowler as at least a partial defence. The gaps between farm gate and retail prices for pork and bacon were much wider in April than a year earlier, but for beef the spread increased by less than 1%. On the face of it this was illogical, as British pig slaughterings recovered to almost normal numbers much more quickly than the cattle kill. The implication is traders were correct in claiming the most severe disruption occurred in imported pigmeat, where buyers including the multiples clamoured for scarce product almost regardless of price. For home-produced pigmeat, on the other hand, prices were restrained by the export ban and troubles evident in processing before the crisis started. Major slaughterers of cattle, including ABP, insisted they were staying as close as possible to the previous prices and margins. Lamb is a bit of a mystery, as market transparency has been lost, so Fowler has not risked offering misleading calculation. {{M/E MEAT }}