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Johnson caught lying again - this time about pork pies

26 August 2019 | News
Pork pies

The Melton Mowbray pork pie is at the centre of an political dispute about British exports.

Boris Johnson has said pork pies are exported to Thailand and Iceland, but cannot be to the US due to bureaucracy.

However the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association have said the pies were not even exported to Thailand and Iceland.

Downing Street reiterated that pies were exported, citing producer Walker & Son, but the company said this was incorrect.

Walker & Son have previously exported a small number of pork pies to Singapore, but have apparently not done so for at least two years and is now solely focused on the UK market.

The topic of pork pies arose on Sunday at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, with Mr Johnson discussing a possible post-Brexit free trade deal with the US.

Mr Johnson talked of trying to “prise open the American market” by removing restrictions on UK exports.

Offering an example of an American trade restriction, Mr Johnson said: “Melton Mowbray pork pies, which are sold in Thailand and in Iceland, are currently unable to enter the US market because of, I don’t know, some sort of food and drug administration restriction.”

BBC Radio 4’s Today programme interviewed Matthew O’Callaghan – who chairs the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association – which represents the pies’ makers, and he said as far as he knew, the claim was wrong.

Asked if Mr Johnson was correct, Mr O’Callaghan replied: “Not really. We don’t actually export to Thailand or Iceland.”

Speaking about trading with the US, Mr O’Callaghan stated: “A Melton Mowbray pork pie is a delicate fresh meat product so the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), like most other countries in the world, are very aware of meat products and you have to go through all the regulations to get them over there.

“Because of the short shelf life it is not really viable economically.”

Walker & Son – which says it makes and bakes 80% of all of the UK’s Melton Mowbray pork pies – said it no longer exports pork pies.

“We are entirely focused on the UK market,” a spokeswoman said.

The company said it used to export a “tiny amount” to Singapore – but had not done so “for some time”.

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