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Extra Measures to Further Protect Scotch Beef Brand

28 February 2013
QMS - Quality Meat Scotland

UK - Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) has introduced a new scheme as an additional measure to further strengthen the checks already in place to protect the Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb brands.

A new licensing scheme for secondary processors - meat wholesalers and manufacturers - has been introduced to add weight to the rigorous requirements already in place to guarantee the authenticity of Scotch Beef and Lamb.

“It is important that we remain on the front foot and vigilant for any sensible and workable opportunities to further strengthen the existing measures to protect the brands,” said Jim McLaren, Chairman of Quality Meat Scotland.

“The licensing scheme is a constructive extension to the steps already in place to ensure the quality and traceability of the industry’s brands, trusted around the world for quality and taste.”

The scheme makes it mandatory for anyone who uses the Scotch Beef and Lamb brands to be licensed by QMS. The licensing process, which involves a small fee for the companies involved, will see traceability and labelling audits being carried out on companies using the Scotch Beef and Lamb brands.

“Over the past two decades Scottish farmers and others involved in the production chain behind Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb have made a major physical and financial commitment to embrace quality assurance,” added Mr McLaren.

“At a time when the industry is under particular scrutiny, the benefits of having adopted a robust system, which does not cut corners, become very clear. Although we already use stringent audits and diagnostic technology to verify provenance in manufacturing and wholesale, our new licensing scheme will take this even further.”

The Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork brands are currently underpinned by six quality assurance schemes, covering areas including farm, feed, haulage, auction markets and primary processors. The 27 members of the QMS Processor Assurance scheme, mostly abattoirs, are audited three times a year with traceability checks accounting for 80% of this auditing process.

Additionally, Assured Food Standards undertake annual traceability and labelling checks for Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb in all of their 150 licensee premises in the UK. These sites are predominantly cutting and packing plants for multiple retail, wholesale or foodservice markets rather than manufacturers of processed products. Isotope technology is also used during spot checks on meat companies across all sectors to verify the origin of meat.

Rural Affairs Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“I warmly welcome this proactive and speedy development by QMS which will enable the secondary processing sector to utilise the undoubted benefits of carrying the Scotch label on their meat products.

“This will provide the retail, catering and food service sectors and ultimately the consumer with the highest possible level of assurance that their purchases contain premium quality branded beef and lamb.

“This ties in well with our plans, announced last week, for an expert group to take forward the Scottish food industry’s work on traceability and provenance and this group will be able to work on any further steps which need to be taken.”

NFU Scotland President, Nigel Miller said:

"Robust traceability, high welfare and quality production standards are the bedrock of Scottish livestock systems. Every step of the primary chain of production is defined and audited by QMS as part of the Scotch brand.

"Extending the reach of independent quality assurance monitoring through secondary processing takes the Scotch brand another step forward at a time when trust in the supply chain needs reinforcing. It provides an independent benchmark of quality in the Scottish chain that consumers can rely on."

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