Claims by pig farmers about butchers selling cheaper imported meat at higher prices, labelling it as Cypriot meat are due to the financial crisis and to the fact that consumers buy less meat compared to previous years, Kostas Leivadiotis, president of the butchers association.
Leivadiotis also addressed claims of tax evasion thrown at butchers, saying that they are untrue as profit margins are reasonable.
The butchers and pig farmers association have been involved in a public spat in the past weeks. Pig farmers claim that butchers do not disclose the country of origin of meat to clients and sell imported meat at higher prices as Cypriot meat.
Petros Kailas, president of the pig farmers, reiterated his accusations and asked butchers to record the meat’s country of origin, asking the Customs Department and the Tax Department to check the issue. He claimed that imports of pork meat have increased and as a result, local production has taken a toll.
This creates sustainability problems for the industry, he said, adding that three pig farms have shut down.
The butchers’ president said there is no legislation forcing them to record the meat’s country of origin. Additionally, citing data from the Statistical Service, he said that 17% of pork meat is imported while consumption has been reduced by 15%. Due to the increase in animal feed and energy prices, meat prices have also increased while consumers have less money to spend.