French offal experts to visit Scotland

Two of France's leading experts in the offal trade will visit Scottish abattoirs this week as part of a Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) project to help the Scottish red meat industry rekindle trade in the 'fifth quarter'.

Sylvain Labayle and Xavier Aleyrangues, from the French Association for Meat Training in Clermont-Ferrand, are specialists in the collection and preparation of red offals - liver, kidneys and blood etc.

They are due to carry out training sessions in nine Scottish abattoirs - Scotch Premier, Mathers, Millers of Speyside, McIntosh Donald, Wishaw Abattoir, Kilmarnock Abattoir, Highland Meats, AK Stoddart and Sandyford Abattoir - from Thursday (6 March).

QMS industry development manager Andy McGowan said: "The French are among the best in the business at the specialist job of collecting and preparing red offals to meet rising consumer demand, particularly from the Far East.

"Sylvain and Xavier will be working hands-on with staff in Scottish abattoirs to pass on the knowledge and skills that were sadly lost when export trade for offals and the like dried up at the time of the beef ban.

"This is an important first step in helping red meat businesses in Scotland develop what are potentially lucrative new markets and turn what are currently waste disposal costs into income."

The Scottish Government recently agreed to fund QMS' entire 'fifth quarter' project as part of its FMD recovery package. The project will run for two years and covers specialised training, research and equipment.

It is estimated that a 5% improvement in value or income from both red and white offals would add over £350,000 a year to industry returns. In addition, the industry would save over £2m a year by not having to dispose of all 'fifth quarter' products, which currently costs around £3 per cattle beast.