A senior representative from the British supermarket trade has defended the requirement that meat they purchase must be from cattle that have a maximum of four farm residencies.

Speaking at the annual conference of the NI Institute of Agricultural Science (NIIAS) last week in Templepatrick, Steve McLean, head of agriculture at British retailer Marks & Spencer, said he was content that the four-residency rule was correct. “We want a short supply chain where we don’t have cattle bouncing through marts and dealers. It is a policy we share with McDonald’s. We are comfortable with the four-residency rule. We don’t intend looking at it,” he said.