Delia under fire for lamb advert

FARMERS in Suffolk have defended the quality of their meat after the website of British chef Delia Smith was found to be promoting lamb from the other side of the world.

Simon Tomlinson

FARMERS in Suffolk have defended the quality of their meat after the website of British chef Delia Smith was found to be promoting lamb from the other side of the world.

The Delia Online site is running an advert which urges the nation's housewives and chefs to “Make it New Zealand lamb every time” when shopping in UK butchers or supermarkets.

But the website's editor dismissed suggestions the campaign meant Miss Smith, who lives near Stowmarket and was awarded a CBE at the weekend, favoured foreign imports over UK produce.


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The advert goes on to say: “You need to know that the meat you're buying and cooking is of the highest quality, reared to exacting standards. Which is why New Zealand lamb is a great choice, whatever the occasion…”

It then describes the “lush pasturelands” and temperate climate which gives the meat its great flavour.

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Andrew Foulds, who rears sheep on the Elveden Estate and at Icklingham, near Bury St Edmunds, said he would personally like to serve his lamb to Miss Smith to prove its quality to her.

Mr Foulds, a chairman of the National Sheep Association for East Anglia, said he produces lamb under the Countryside Stewardship scheme, which ensures no chemicals or fertilisers are used on the farmland.

Mr Foulds, who also sits on the livestock board of the National Farmers' Union (NFU), added: “My lamb is probably 12 to 14 weeks old when it hits the supermarket whereas New Zealand lamb might be six to 10 months old.”

Another farmer, Richard Staveley, who breeds sheep and cattle at Melford Park, said: “There is lovely prime lamb in this country, all under farm-assured schemes. The comments on the website make a mockery of us.”

But Jo Hill, the website's editor, said: “It is ridiculous to suggest that Delia would ever support New Zealand lamb to the detriment of British lamb.

“We are simply carrying an ad campaign for them and have frequently advertised English or British lamb on the site in the past.”

The Delia online website is also currently promoting UK meat.

A spokesman for the NFU said that, despite the advert, Miss Smith was a “passionate supporter” of British lamb, promoting it on her website and television programmes.

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