Health and trade debates to take centre stage at HCC conference

Key issues for the future of Wales’s £650m red meat industry will be tackled head-on next month as farmers, processors, retailers and policy makers convene at the annual Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) conference at the Vale Hotel near Cardiff on November 9.

With the outlook for the future trading relationship between the UK and the EU still uncertain, Brexit will be a key theme at the HCC conference.

Lesley Griffiths AM, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, will address the conference, while new HCC Chairman Kevin Roberts will outline how the organisation is approaching contingency planning for the next three years.

“This conference comes at an ideal time – for the industry to have input into HCC’s developing strategic agenda to 2025, and to discuss contingency plans,” said Kevin Roberts. “This is a challenging period, therefore we’re putting proposals in place for a range of potential outcomes from the Brexit process, ranging from free access to the single market to WTO Tariffs or unilateral trade liberalisation.

“Given the uncertainty as to which markets we will be able to access after 2019, we have to work on several fronts” he explained. “The recently announced export development funding from Welsh Government will help us to do this, and presentations at the conference will outlining our plans for retaining European customers while developing new markets. We will also discuss our analysis of consumer and market trends, as well as work in the UK market.”

The topic of red meat and health – a vital issue for the future of beef, pork and lamb sales in the UK – will be addressed by keynote speaker Dr. Carrie Ruxton, the Scottish dietitian and nutritionist who has featured in many media debates on red meat issues.

Carrie Ruxton has a PhD in child nutrition and has published over 100 articles on diet and health.

“Given some of the media coverage of nutritional issues, consumers and health professionals could be forgiven for feeling confused,” said Dr. Ruxton.

“There is a positive story to tell about the role red meat can play in a balanced diet,” she added. “Red meat is the most readily available source of iron and zinc, and includes a range of other nutrients, so blanket public health messages risk undermining future nutrient intake among young people.”

Places at the HCC conference are free, and can be booked by phoning 01970 625050 or emailing