IoM Visit to Genus ABS

On 26th October 2022 IoM members had the privilege to visit Genus ABS in Llanrhydd, a world leading animal genetics company.  They supply high-quality breeding animals with desirable characteristics to farmers, enabling them to produce better quality meat and milk more efficiently to feed the world more sustainably.

The visiting IoM group were given a fascinating presentation by Hafina Cordiner, Breeding Programme Co-ordinator, Mark Smith and Gemma Wark who explained how they analyze the animals’ DNA then select the animals with the strongest genetic profile to produce even better offspring.  These superior animals are distributed to customers in the form of animals, semen or embryos.

Members of the visiting group included ABP, Smithfield Murray, MEAT Ipswich and one of our Master Butchers, Jim Doherty.

The group was shown around their cutting-edge laboratory facilities by Meagan Ellis who explained the technology that enables Genus to process semen for desirable traits, such as female sex for the dairy market, and licence-in technology to make precise gene edits to animals’ DNA which they are employing in their R&D programmes to produce animals which are resistant to fatal disease.

Keith Fisher, chief executive of the IoM said: “The visit was really informative and incredible to see how much progress had been made since a similar visit in 2018.  The Genus team made us very welcome and put on a great presentation.”


A fine example of one of the elite bulls


Members were also treated to a parade of their elite bulls who were presented to us in magnificent condition.

ABS breeds genetically elite bulls in three continents. The best bulls come to one of ABS’s six stud locations, where their semen is collected for distribution as a frozen ‘straw’ of semen or used to create embryos for sale.

Ralph Early, one of our ‘Fellow’ members’ said, “he found it very exciting to learn something of what Genus are doing and the potentials in genomics and gene-editing from their perspective”.

All members agreed that the visit was most insightful into the world of gnenomics.


Is time running out for locally produced meat?

As yet another small abattoir closes – is time running out for locally produced meat?

Tomorrow, Glossop based butcher John Mettrick will turn off the lights in his small abattoir for the last time. The irony of the situation is not lost on him. As Chair of the Abattoir Sector Group, co-founded with National Craft Butchers, the Sustainable Food Trust, and others, he plays a key role in the fight to save small abattoirs. He has also proudly opened the doors of his abattoir to the BBC for their ground-breaking Kill it, Cook it, Eat it programme, appeared on Countryfile, and spoken on national news about the vital role local abattoirs play in the rural economy. Yet now, over one hundred years and five generations of Mettricks later, the abattoir side of the family business has become the latest casualty in the battle.

Local abattoirs are a vital part of the infrastructure that enables consumers to buy high quality, locally produced, traceable meat. Meat from animals reared by small scale farmers who care deeply about their livestock. Meat from animals that have travelled the shortest possible distance to slaughter, reducing stress for them whilst also minimising damage to the environment.

However, according to the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) figures, small abattoirs are closing at a rate of 10% each year – meaning that within a decade they may disappear altogether. Yet demand for locally produced, environmentally responsible meat is growing, so why are small abattoirs like Mettrick’s closing at such an alarming rate?

Although the issue is complex, John feels it can be distilled into two core reasons, which lie behind the closure of his own abattoir business: inappropriate and burdensome regulation, and inexperienced on-site official veterinarians (OVs). Both contribute to conflict rather than collaboration and can demoralise staff who then leave the industry which is already suffering a crippling shortage of labour following Brexit. Morale has never been lower. For Mettricks this became painfully clear when their Institute of Meat award-winning, fully qualified slaughterman along with two fully qualified butchers decided to leave the industry giving John with no choice but to close the abattoir.

Regulation for the industry has been designed with large scale abattoirs and their customers in mind. As such it is overly complicated and simply unworkable in small abattoirs, where the owner is often the slaughter man and the person responsible for dealing with all regulatory requirements. According to John,

“The FSA acknowledges that the present one size fits all system does not work and through a 5-year programme (OTP) say they hope to be able to deliver a risk based proportional approach to regulation in the future. However, this will require legislative change to have any chance of a meaningful impact. The refusal from the UK Government to utilise even existing legislation to support small abattoirs means that in the meantime many, like my own, will have no choice but to close.”

Post BREXIT there has also been a shortage of highly qualified, experienced Official Veterinarians (OVs). As a result, Mettrick says it is not unusual for small abattoirs to become inspected by OVs who have limited experience of a low throughput multi species abattoirs, and some can ‘become bored or overzealous.’

The shock waves caused by the closure of a local abattoir are felt throughout the rural economy. Those affected most from the Mettricks shut down, apart from Brian their highly skilled slaughterman of 21 years, will be the 200 farmers who relied on the abattoir and cutting room services to run their businesses and who will struggle to find an alternative local processor. They are appalled at the closure, and many have messaged Mettricks directly:

‘It’s a massive shame. With Baileys shutting as well, it feels like all the people that actually care about what they do, are shutting…. I guess I will carry on best I can, but I feel that I am at the mercy of bigger market forces.’

‘I am just so so sad, not only for the loss of service to small producers, but for your staff. As I said, quite tearfully to be honest, I wouldn’t be doing what I am today if it hadn’t been for the guidance and support of you and your very patient and knowledgeable staff. ‘

Richard Young, Policy Director at Sustainable Food Trust had this to say,

“This is a very ominous development for all those farmers who manage to make ends meet by selling high quality meat from their own animals direct to consumers. If one of the best and most impressive small abattoirs in the country is forced to close, then yet more will follow. While farmers will try to find another abattoir, in many areas there are now no suitable alternatives and some of the farmers will eventually be forced out of business, as a result. The beneficiaries will be the supermarkets whose share of the meat market will grow further.”

John, also Legislation Director of National Craft Butchers, is understandably bitter,

‘Whilst Foreign Secretary Liz Truss celebrates trade deals, in truth the Government has taken their eye off the ball domestically and is in effect sacrificing small businesses in pursuit of these deals.  The Government talk about the importance of animal welfare with short distances to slaughter, local meat, sustainably produced, but policy does not represent that. Their inaction is effectively killing off the very businesses that help deliver these objectives. Livestock farmers who wish to market their own meat, rare breed producers and other small businesses are being left high and dry as more abattoirs close.’

Product evaluation starts for 2022 Meat Management Awards

Product entries by the hundred have been arriving at the Regional Food Academy test kitchens, located at Harper Adams University, Shropshire, where this year’s product judging for the Meat Management Industry Awards is underway.

A massive and diverse range of products have been delivered by companies large and small from right across the industry. The panel of judges headed up by Keith Fisher, the CEO of the Institute of Meat, has now started the process of evaluating entries.

The results will be revealed later this year at the popular ceremony scheduled for 15th September at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole, when Britain’s biggest event of its type for the meat industry will bring together guests and awards partners to celebrate the best of the best.

Head judge Keith Fisher said: “As usual the range and diversity of products, and the companies and top brands that have entered is amazing and we have a very busy and exciting few days in prospect. These awards always stand out for the scope of what they cover and the substantial support the initiative attracts. The innovation and range is great to see and I look forward to joining colleagues, plus the finalists and winners at the awards ceremony later this year. An event that should not be missed.

I understand that the team of home economists responsible for cooking and preparing entries prior to judging have reported a very high standard of entry, which indicates a big job in prospect for those preparing the products in the kitchens and for the judges over the coming days.”

Sharon Yandell, the lead organiser for the MM Meat Industry Awards said: “I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to enter. The industry faces a variety of logistical problems right now and at such a busy period, and with pressure on staffing for many companies, it is not always easy to find the time. However, despite the problems we have a fantastic range of products to evaluate once again.  “We are really looking forward to the next awards ceremony taking place on 15th September. We had a very special evening back in September last year and great support. With demand for tickets and tables likely to be high, I recommend an early visit to the website to reserve places for the September ceremony and to take advantage of an early bird booking discount.”

Click here for ticket information.

All commercial partnerships have already been taken for 2022 so for details of how to become a partner for the MM Meat Industry Awards in 2023 email Michelle Ingerfield:

IoM’s Chairman named as Food Industry Champion of the Year

The winners of the 2022 FMT Food Industry Awards were announced on Wednesday evening 25th May at a black-tie dinner and ceremony hosted by chef Matt Tebbutt of TV’s Saturday Kitchen, held at the 5-star Royal Lancaster Hotel, London.


The winners of the 2022 FMT Food Industry Awards were announced on Wednesday evening 25th May at a black-tie dinner and ceremony hosted by chef Matt Tebbutt of TV’s Saturday Kitchen, held at the 5-star Royal Lancaster Hotel, London.

The evening’s most prestigious award, Food Industry Champion of the Year, went to Bill Jermey, former chief executive of the Food and Drink Training and Education Council (ftc) and current chairman of the Institute of Meat.

With a diverse career within the UK food industry, spanning half a century, Bill Jermey was recognised for his leadership and dedication to improving training schemes for all within the sector, and for his work in successfully lobbying government to add food manufacturing qualifications to its Lifetime Skills Guarantee programme.

To read the published article, please click here.

IoM and WCB Annual Awards are back, and better than ever

After COVID forced last years event to be cancelled, today the IoM and the WCB were finally able to celebrate and thank some outstanding members of the meat industry at their prestigious Annual Awards and prize-giving luncheon in  the Butchers’ Hall.

Despite some sections being hit hard by COVID 19, the meat industry worked relentlessly throughout the pandemic to serve local communities and the wider British public.

It was then a fitting tribute and an honour to welcome a very special guest this year, HRH The Princess Royal, Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Butchers and Fellow of the Institute of Meat.

Bill Jermey, Keith Fisher and Margaret Boanas welcoming HRH The Princess Royal to The Butchers’ Hall

Over a hundred guests gathered in the Livery Hall to see apprentices, training providers and employers receive their awards, presented by Her Royal Highness and Keith Fisher (F.Inst.M), Chief Executive of the Institute of Meat.

Also presiding over the awards was Margaret Boanas, Master of the Worshipful Company since September 2021 and following in HRH The Princess Royal’s footsteps as one of only three women to have held this post.

In total 12 awards were given. The awards and winners were:

Best New Apprentice
Seymour Manufacturing International Ltd
Sarah Porter
Best Retail Butchery Apprentice
National Craft Butchers
Josh Huitson
Best Independent Retailer Meat Apprentice
Edkins Family and WCB
Robert Darling
Best Multiple Retailer Butchery Apprentice
Letitia Redfern
Best Meat Processing Apprentice
Oakfield (Foods) Ltd
Leon Edwards
Best Abattoir Worker /Apprentice
ABP Food Group
Ionela Bacioiu
Best Apprentice Showing Management Potential in a Manufacturing Environment
Worshipful Company of Poulters
Sean McGrath
Best Meat Apprentice Showing Real Management Potential
Jenkins Family and WCB
Austin Howell
Lord Graham Endeavour    Award
Meat Trades Journal
Jonty Larkin
Best Company Training
Windsor Food Machinery Ltd
Cooper Foods (Andover) Ltd
Best Meat Training Provider      of the Year
M.E.A.T. (Ipswich) Ltd
Champion Meat Apprentice of the Year
Meat Management Magazine
Austin Howell

The category winners each received a cheque for £250, a framed certificate and a years free membership of the Institute of Meat.

The overall winner, ‘Champion Meat Apprentice of the Year’, Austin Howell of Priory Farm Shop, Redhill, Surrey, received a winner’s trophy and certificate, a year’s free membership of the IoM and an additional cash prize of £500. Howell impressed the judges with how quickly he had progressed from being a young apprentice to taking the first step on the management ladder with his employer.

Austin Howell receiving Champion Meat Apprentice of the Year Award from HRH The Princess Royal

Also celebrated on the day was the awarding of seven new Institute of Meat accredited Master Butchers. In the last three decades of the awards less than 60 butchers have been awarded accredited Master Butcher status as the awarding criteria is rigorous and applications are invited only from very experienced and skilful butchers. The new IoM Master Butchers are:

Marc Murphy (MB.Inst.M) – Dunbia Group

Jason Moore (MB.Inst.M) – Newlyn’s Farm Shop, Hook

Peter Howarth (MB.Inst.M) – Booker Group

Kevin King (MB.Inst.M) – Booker Group

Roy Mason (MB.Inst.M) – Booker Group

Roderick Frew (MB.Inst.M) – Barr’s Butchers, Ballymena

John Mutch (MB.Inst.M) – Cutting Edge Services, Chorley

Master of the Worshipful Company, Margaret Boanas, was also awarded a Fellowship of the Institute of Meat on the day, and Food Hygiene Consultant, Paul Bache MBE, became a Honorary Fellow.

Commenting on the day, Fisher said,

‘It’s wonderful to be back and to be able to recognise the achievements of so many talented individuals. It has been an incredibly tough two years, everyone involved in the meat industry has worked harder than ever before.

The awards are of course about celebrating success, but the Institute of Meat is also about fellowship. This is especially important in the hard times we’ve had recently and we’re all looking forward to a brighter year ahead, including the happy occasion of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.’

Chairman of the Institute of Meat, Bill Jermey added,

‘I’ve been involved with the prize-giving for many years, but it has never felt more important to acknowledge and reward achievement. These apprentices really stepped up to the plate in unprecedented times. I’m especially delighted that HRH The Princess Royal joined us to congratulate them.’

Award winners, Master Butchers and Fellows – The Butchers’ Hall 24th February 2022

For more information about the prize-giving, or how to nominate an apprentice please contact Sheryl Horne at the Institute of Meat,

British Charcuterie Live Awards 2020/2021

Winners of the British Charcuterie Live Awards 2020/21 announced

It proved an outstanding year in spite of the challenges British Charcuterie Producers are facing. With over 100 producers entering more than 300 products into the nine classesthe judges were struck by the exceptional quality and range.

For more details on winners, please click on the link below:

IoM / WCB Annual Awards 2021 Postponed

As a valued supporter of our annual awards I am writing to update you regarding the 2021 annual prize-giving which was due to be held at the Butchers’ Hall on Thursday 25th February 2021.  Due to the current circumstances regarding the Covid 19 pandemic and uncertainty surrounding them we have decided to postpone our annual awards to February 2022.

Although the awards could be presented via video link, it was felt that the sense of occasion and experience of the day would be very much missed by the winners and recipients of the awards.

I would like to convey my sincere thanks to you for your support to date and hope that you will continue to support us again when we, all being well, resume the awards in February 2022.

Food Awards product judging date change


Lockdown for England, recently announced by the Government, has impacted on the product judging arrangements for the popular FMT Food Industry Awards, which were due to take place at the Regional Food Academy test kitchens later in November.

Harper Adams Regional Food Academy has confirmed that the test kitchens will temporarily close during the lockdown period.

New dates for product judging have already been confirmed for later in January 2021 and in the circumstances the product nomination deadline has also been extended to 11th January 2021. With a new deadline available, organisers confirm that additional product nominations are still welcome and that all those who have already nominated products have been informed about the new delivery dates.

Commenting on the news, lead organiser for the Food Industry Awards, Sharon Yandell said: “We have a record level of entries and we are set for a truly fantastic ceremony next year when winners are announced. The initiative goes from strength to strength.

“Of course, this is disappointing and frustrating. However, in considering new dates we have decided not to clash with the build up to Christmas in December, a very busy time for the industry, so have moved product judging into January. This still leaves plenty of time for administration prior to the ceremony scheduled for May, when all the results will be announced.”

To enter products, go to or for more information contact Sharon Yandell.

For more information on the Food Management Today Industry Awards visit their website