Lower costs for Scottish processors

Meat processors in Scotland will face lower assurance fees this year following the appointment of a new assessing body by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

QMS selected the PAI group to run the scheme, which covers 29 plants throughout Scotland, for the next three years through competitive tendering, which has allowed QMS to bring the fees back to a more comparable level with other schemes.

Andy McGowan, QMS industry development manager, said: "QMS is always striving to ensure the best value in the assurance scheme. The latest round of tenders has ensured that we have been able to get the best available deal for our assurance members, and also saw a drop in fees for the pig scheme."

QMS said processors will continue to get three full-day inspections per year, which will ensure Scotland's scheme remains a world leader in red meat assurance.

McGowan added: "Membership fees reflect only the running costs of each scheme. The new contract with PAI has enabled us to reduce the fee for processors to a level that is more comparable to the other assurance schemes, and we hope this will act as an incentive to get smaller processors on board."

PAI managing director Paul Wright said: "As leaders in farm assurance and food chain integrity, PAI is delighted to be able to provide a service that will help to safeguard the international reputation of Quality Meat Scotland.

"We scored highly by combining cost efficiencies with a thorough understanding of the meat processing businesses."

The PAI group now operates the processor scheme, while SFQC continue to operate the five other schemes.