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Tell me about M&S fresh beef

Where does Marks & Spencer fresh beef come from?

All Marks & Spencer fresh beef comes from our regional suppliers which means we sell: Irish beef in Ireland, Welsh beef in Wales and Scottish beef in Scotland. In England we sell British, Scottish and some Welsh beef.  To avoid any confusion all Marks & Spencer fresh beef is labelled with the country of origin and now has a flag on the front of the pack.  Our strict traceability means we can trace each joint of beef back to the farms where it was produced.

What standards do the farms meet?

All Marks & Spencer fresh beef is produced on specially selected known and audited farms to Marks & Spencer ‘Select Farm’ Farm Assurance specifications.  Marks & Spencer ‘Select Farm’ Farm Assurance enables us to give our customers assurances on animal welfare, food safety, and quality.

Marks & Spencer is committed to the highest standards of animal welfare.  Together with our suppliers we have developed detailed Codes of Practice, which insist on the highest standards of animal welfare, food safety and quality throughout the animal’s life.

With specific regard to animal welfare, Marks & Spencer has adopted the recommendations of the Government’s independent advisory body, the Farm Animal Welfare Council in our Codes of Practice.  We meet regularly with animal welfare organisations, i.e. RSPCA and Compassion in World Farming.

All farms supplying Marks & Spencer are audited by Marks & Spencer technologists and trained, skilled auditors who know our detailed standards.  Before any farm can supply Marks & Spencer it must meet the requirements of our Codes of Practice, any that does not is simply not used.

What are the cattle used for Marks & Spencer fresh beef fed?

Marks & Spencer has developed its own specification for the feeding of our fresh beef cattle which ensures animals are fed a wholesome diet to maintain optimum health and welfare.  Marks & Spencer prohibits the addition of any animal or avian derived by-products in any of its feed (the only exception to this is milk and milk by-products). The diets are generally:

·         grass (preserved as silage or hay in winter)

·         barley, wheat or maize – whole or processed (milled etc)

legumes and oilseeds – whole or processed

Are Marks & Spencer Fresh Beef cattle given antibiotics?

We do not permit the use of antibiotics for growth promotion. The only use of antibiotics we allow is to treat sick animals. Any antibiotics are prescribed under veterinary control.

Are Marks & Spencer Fresh Beef cattle given hormones?

No.  It is illegal to administer any growth promoting hormones to any animal used for food production in the UK and throughout the EU.

How does Marks & Spencer Fresh Organic Beef differ from the rest of its fresh beef?

The principal difference is that Marks & Spencer Fresh Organic Beef is produced on organic pasture and where supplementary feed is given it is made from organic ingredients.

Is the beef in Marks & Spencer Beef Wellington produced to the same standards as the fresh beef?

All Marks & Spencer Beef Wellingtons are made with Farm Assured beef from approved Marks & Spencer Suppliers.

How long is Marks & Spencer beef matured/hung for?

All Marks & Spencer beef joints and steaks are matured for a minimum of 21 days. The only exception is fillet steak, which we mature for between 10 and 17 days for optimum eating quality. Our Special Reserve Dry Aged Sirloin Joints and beef steaks are matured for a minimum of 28 day on the bone.

What is the difference between sirloin, forerib, topside joint and roasting beef joints?

Marks & Spencer sells a range of beef joints.  The Food to Order Special Reserve Dry Aged Sirloin Joint has been matured on the bone for a minimum of 28 days. This traditional process produces a tender beef joint that has a rich buttery, beef flavour. Tender, fully flavoured and well-marbled, this is an excellent cut for roasting.

Also available this year is a 28 Day matured Sirloin Joint – the maturation time allows for the flavour to develop over time and ensures a more tender roasting joint.

The Forerib of beef is flavoursome joint is matured for a minimum of 21 days and is available via Food to Order as an off the bone joint stuffed with a horseradish butter. This is considered by many cooks as the best of all roasting joints, with perfect proportions of bone, lean meat and fat.

Topside is a boneless cut from the top of the leg. Leaner than forerib it makes an excellent roasting meat. There is no topside joint in this year’s customer order brochure but a topside joint will be available in store this Christmas.

In addition to the Topside Beef Joint, there will also be a Wise Buy Roasting Joint – this is utilising either the Top Rump (sometimes called Thick Flank or Knuckle) or the Rump cuts of meat. It is a relatively lean cut and great for roasting at a lower temperature for a longer time.


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