Scudamore decision on the horizon

The Scottish government is widely expected to announce a decision on the Scudamore report at the Royal Highland Show (21-24 June), according to industry sources.

A representative of the Scottish government told Meat Trades Journal that ministers were considering the report and an answer would be made before the summer recess (on 30 June). However, he was unable to comment on the question of cost-effectiveness of the more expensive stand-alone system favoured by the panel’s recommendations.

The report on the food standards and safety in Scotland concluded that the country’s interests would be best served by a stand-alone Scottish Food Standards Agency. The review, which carried out by an independent panel led by Professor Jim Scudamore was published on 4 April 2012.

Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers’ (SAMW) new president Alan McNaughton said the Scudamore report presented an opportunity to create an efficient and effective body that is able to respond to the consumer demands in Scotland without the massive overhead costs attached to the current organisation.

He told delegates at the SAMW conference: “As an industry we accept that we have a part to play towards making the new structure work as well as a financial contribution to make it all possible, but the Scudamore recommendation is a major step forward.”

However, he pointed out that although vital to both the industry and consumers, meat inspection is a service part of our industry. He said: “It does not equate to sales, does not add to GDP and, therefore, should not consume the valuable business time and energy that [SAMW] members have had to commit to it in recent years. We look forward to a future in which, like a good football match, no-one notices the referee.”

>Report recommends stand-alone FSA in Scotland