QMS boss emphasises importance of Scotch meat quality assurance
Published:  03 November, 2014

Maintaining the integrity of the Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb labels is crucial to ensuring the long-term profitability of the Scottish red meat industry, according to Uel Morton, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) chief executive.

Speaking to around 150 farmers at McIntosh Donald’s Producer Club Open Evening, Morton emphasised the value to Scottish livestock producers of having strong brands and robust quality assurance schemes.

He said: “The Scottish red meat industry is committed to delivering a top-quality product, but one of the biggest challenges the wider food industry faces is food fraud.

“As an industry we were in a strong position when the horsemeat scandal broke, as we had full traceability and quality assurance standards in place to guarantee the integrity of our labels. This meant consumers could trust our brands.”

QMS said that market research revealed that shoppers expected the logos, with their quality assurance, to guarantee they can trust the meat. They also expected it to be from a known source, of better eating quality, safer to eat and from animals that have better living conditions.

Morton added: “As an industry, we are very proud of the fact that Scotland was a global pioneer of livestock quality assurance but it is vital that we are not complacent and remain on the front foot with regards to the standards required by our schemes.”

He also highlighted the importance of strong brand differentiation in terms of the price differential between Scotland and other parts of the UK and Ireland. For the week ending 18 October, the variation in the average deadweight price for an R4L steer ranged from 378p/kg in Scotland to 345p/kg in the south of England and 282p/kg in the Republic of Ireland.