Last week we were returning from a family get together and popped into a Marks and Spencer food hall. Paying a bit more attention to the ham and bacon, we realised that the “M&S assured” statement on the pork products did not actually have a clear statement of what the assurance was about.
So we asked. The shopfloor staff did not know, so they called the manager. He did not know. He asserted that the farms used were government assured and therefore he did not know what that involved as it was not M&S policy. This was clearly inappropriate as the labels clearly stated \”M&S Assured Farm/Pork\”. Besides, even if it were just government policies, it would be useful to know what it meant.
So I used the feedback form on M&S\’s website to ask this (with a pre-amble not reproduced here):
\”We are anxious to determine whether the standards that M&S use take into consideration the welfare of the animal, or just the animal products after slaughter. Either way your staff SHOULD know what the ruddy labelling means.\”
The answer came through:
Thank you for contacting us about our M&S assured farm pork.
As you may be aware, animal welfare is a very high priority for Marks & Spencer and we pride ourselves on our high standards and quality of our animal products and suppliers.
We are continually receiving feedback concerning this area and please be assured that your comments are important to us and will be passed to our Animal Welfare and Ethical Trading Team who are responsible for the progression of this aspect of our company. They will be very interested in your comments and look at how this can be implemented in to their future planning and carefully consider the points you have raised.
We do have a large amount of information regarding our welfare standards, product sourcing, and food policies on the Marks & Spencer website under the section entitled \’About our food\’, just go to our website at http://www.marksandspencer.com.
I hope this information helps and thank you for taking the time to get in touch.
Please be aware that this email has been sent from a ‘no reply’ email address.
If we can help you any further, please contact us via our website. You can do this by clicking the following link and selecting \’in store service and feedback\’:
Alternatively, you can call us on 0845 302 1234 where we will be happy to assist you further.
As a search on M&S’s website failed to get a hit on welfare standards, my reply went thus:
This was your answer about pork welfare standards.
You\’ll notice that it doesn\’t actually tell me either:
a) what the standard is
b) where the standard is to be found on your website (i have tried)
c) how the standard compares with RSPCA freedom food
A search for Welfare Standards on your website produces 0 results.
Care to try again?