M&S in a mess

Mon 20 July CopyHave you seen the video by Chris Packham talking about grouse shooting and lead levels in shot grouse? Have a look.

Many are asking questions of M&S ahead of their AGM tomorrow – so should shareholders and investors. Here are some questions:

  • if M&S have an industry-leading Code of Practice for game meat – why can’t we customers see it? Why did M&S intimate that the RSPB had seen it when the RSPB are quite clear that they haven’t? Why is this industry-leading Code of Practice a special secret between M&S and the grouse shooting industry as represented by the Game (and Wildlife)(Conservation)(Trust)?
  • why has M&S ignored all questions about lead levels in the grouse they intend, apparently, to sell?  Have they required their suppliers to use non-toxic ammunition? Apparently not. Have they said they will test their grouse meat for lead levels and publish the results? No, they haven’t. Have they expressed any concern or confidence in the lead levels in the meat they intend to sell? Not a thing.
  • why has M&S not disclosed the name of the estate they will use to supply their grouse? It’s hardly a vote of confidence in the supplier is it if they refuse to mention their name?

M&S are brazening it out on grouse meat. They have not addressed legitimate concerns from customers and so they have lost me as a customer, Chris Packham as a customer, and many others as customers. The shareholders ought to be asking tomorrow whether this lack of consumer confidence can possibly be worth it when the profits to be made from selling a few grouse will be negligible.

Shareholders and investors should ask whether this is a business decision or a decision made for other reasons. What might those reasons be? Are they good reasons? Do they bring into question M&S’s decision-making process?

Watch the video and then sign the e-petition and don’t shop with M&S if you think they are behaving badly.


11 Replies to “M&S in a mess”

  1. Thank you Mark and Chris, I shall be transferring my shopping from M&S to John Lewis.

  2. If I walk into the food department of my local M&S, I see large posters on the wall of suppliers and farmers, named and proudly showing the produce they produce for the store.
    Even stranger then that M&S are so reticent about showing or naming their red grouse supplier.
    Shareholders should be asking strong questions tomorrow.

  3. Rang M&S product information, 0333 014 8555 (option 2 then option 5) asking if they were going to stock grouse this year. She found out “Yes”. I persisted, she eventually found the usual info – if there’s surplus, code of conduct etc. On elaborating, I was almost put through to the Chairman’s Team, but that failed. Finally my complaint was logged. So easy to do. Let’s all do it!

  4. M&S is probably trying to think up an authentic sounding brand name for their grouse-shooting estate as they did with “Lochmuir salmon” from Scottish Sea Farms. The fish farm was investigated by the FDA (http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13078743.Fish_farm_at_centre_of_mystery_illness_was_warned_over_safety_by_US_agency/) over concerns about the way fish were tested for residues of three pesticides used to kill sea lice.
    Either that or they are trying to find a way to down-play lead levels and/or flubendazole residues.

  5. Unfortunately I already played my M&S boycott card in Sep 2015 over the badger cull:
    (Via http://www.marksandspencer.com/s/contact-us
    Please don’t support the badger cull
    As a customer of Marks and Spencer, I am concerned to read that your company sources asparagus from Cobrey Farms which is participating in the Gloucestershire badger cull. Since I strongly feel the cull to be unacceptable on scientific grounds, I am considering taking my custom elsewhere. I am reluctant to do so because I support your company’s Plan A efforts to trade more sustainably. What is your stance on the badger cull programme? Will you exert any influence on your supplier on behalf of your customers?)
    Response: silence. However, if enough of us walk away…
    M&S really needs to align its ethics.
    Great campaign, well done.

  6. I hope that should they go ahead and sell it, someone, somewhere, will obtain a couple of brace or so and subject them to the same tests that the birds from Iceland went through and publish the results.

    1. I’m sure we’d all chip in a couple of quid to pay for testing.
      Over to you Mark.
      Although if I were a betting man I’d give you evens that they eventually don’t stock it this season.

  7. Mark, I’ll leave the comment asking as you clearly wouldn’t answer it via Twitter.
    You were asked by @Wildlife_Mgr, and I’m sure many more would like to know.
    How many people have died as a direct result of eating shot grouse??
    Look forward to receiving your answer.
    Also one of the tests show 3000% the amount of lead, what did they do test an actual piece of shot that was in the bird?

    1. Darren – thank you.

      Some on Twitter think this is a very clever question ‘How many people have died as a direct result of eating shot grouse?’. The answer, of course, is that no-one knows but it can’t be very many.

      Lead is an unnecessary poison in our food – why not switch to non-toxic shot? I am perfectly sure the answer to the question ‘how many people would die from a switch to non-toxic ammunition in game shooting?’ is ‘None’.

      But death is not the only harm done by poisons and if we only acted on those problems much of medicine would cease to exist. there is no safe level for lead in our diet. We know that high lead levels affect the nervous system and many other bodily functions. Why not switch to non-toxic ammunition?

      Will M&S label their game meat with ‘Lead is a poison. This meat probably has high lead levels. We have done nothing to make sure that this game was shot with non-toxic ammunition. Good luck!’.

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