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First steps towards Genuine Jersey Beef

Date: 11/01/2006 | Posted by John Garton
Two new products could be added to the Genuine Jersey range if a visit from a master butcher this week proves successful. In conjunction with the Royal Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society and the Transport and Technical Services Department, research is progressing into Genuine Jersey dairy beef and mature beef. It is hoped that the products will be able to carry the Genuine Jersey Products Association (GJPA) brand by June.

The ultimate aim is to produce local beef to a consistently high quality. The involvement of beef expert Viv Harvey at this stage is essential in classifying the meat and setting the standards for the final products. A meat industry consultant whose clients include the English Beef and Lamb Executive, Mr Harvey will be assessing six Jersey carcases and recommending how to achieve the best cuts of meat from them.

When the final product is launched later this year, all the meat will come from free ranging cattle, reared in full daylight and fed a balanced diet, according to their age.

All animals are raised under the five freedoms, which satisfy the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) codes of recommendation for welfare. They are:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst,

  • Freedom from discomfort,

  • Freedom from pain, injury or disease,

  • Freedom to perform normal patterns of behaviour, and

  • Freedom from fear or distress.

Traceability is currently an important issue in the meat market. Jersey meat is probably unique in being totally traceable back to 1789, the year in which imports of cows were banned.

GJPA vice-chairman Peter Tabb welcomed the investigations into the beef, saying: “The increasing popularity of the Genuine Jersey brand reflects the fact that local producers are able to achieve high quality products, while discerning consumers are recognising that they can make an informed purchase and still ‘buy local’. I am delighted that Genuine Jersey beef is another step closer to the market. When these products appear on the shelves they will offer consumers the chance to buy from a trusted source and support the local economy, while at the same time take pride in the quality and diversity of local produce.