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Friday, 23 February, 2001, 20:31 GMT
Shoppers urged not to panic buy
Supermarket shelves being restocked with meat
Supermarkets say there are no shortages yet
Supermarkets are urging shoppers not to panic buy meat products as the ban on livestock movement begins to take effect.

Retailers say they have enough stocks to last throughout the week-long ban which has been ordered to stop the spread of foot-and-mouth disease.

Supermarket buyers are already placing orders overseas to cover a shortfall in fresh British meat.


It will very much depend on the attitude of the consumer to the situation

Safeway spokeswoman

But they are warning that supplies will only be sufficient if customers shop normally and do not buy significantly more than usual.

The ban on transportation of live farm animals, announced by Agriculture Minister Nick Brown earlier on Friday, does not cover meat which has already been slaughtered.

Overseas supplies

But with abattoirs and livestock markets shut for a week, there could be shortages in a few days' time if there is an increased demand for meat and meat products.

And if customers switch to fish dishes and ready meals, these could also run short, supermarkets said.

A spokeswoman for Safeway said: "Our buyers have been looking at the situation already and it will very much depend on the attitude of the consumer to the situation.

Livestock market at Selby
Livestock markets will be shut for a week
"We are anticipating an increase in demand for poultry and fish and we are looking at finding new suppliers for that.

"We have enough meat supplies for a few days but we are looking elsewhere such as Ireland to find new suppliers.

A spokeswoman for Asda said they were breaking their normal 100% guarantee of selling British meat as they had resorted to buying meat from abroad to combat possible shortages.

She said: "If people buy as normal then we do not anticipate a problem. We know we have enough supplies."

The other major supermarkets, including Sainsbury's and Tesco, also said that they were confident of having enough stocks as long as customers did not panic buy.

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