Falkirk East’s MSP Angus MacDonald has supported butchers in his constituency who back locally sourced meat in the wake of the consumer scandal over processed meat products found to contain horsemeat.

Mr MacDonald, who serves on the Rural Affairs Committee at the Scottish Parliament and has an agricultural background stressed the quality of scotch meat, which high street butchers are sourcing locally and which has the strongest possible levels of traceability and record keeping from farm gate to plate.

Commenting, Angus MacDonald said:

“Local butchers across Falkirk East are supplying their customers with meat produced locally and which consumers can rightly have a high level of confidence in.

“The scandal that has rocked the processed meat industry is rightly a cause for serious concern but there is a world of difference between the supply chain for processed meat and the exceptional traceability of meat sold over our high street butcher’s counters.

“We are very fortunate in Falkirk district to have easy access to such a high quality product being sold by well-run local businesses, which in turn provide significant employment for producers right through to the retail counter in the shop.

“The Quality Meat Scotland Assurance Schemes ensure that the classification of Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb can only be applied to meat supplied from farms and through a supply chain that has been quality assured.

“The message is, fundamentally, buy Scottish for quality assurance.”

Meanwhile, acting swiftly, the Scottish Government has funded a £1 million campaign to strengthen the Scotch meat label, develop new markets and support marketing of the Scotch Brands – beef, sheep and pork.  This work will specifically include a £250,000 campaign to enable the sheep industry to develop new markets for lamb and fully exploit the availability of prime Scottish lambs.

A wider study – across the meat sector – has also been commissioned to help better understand the market. Among other things, the survey will look at what’s on sale in Scotland and which retailers provide the best support for producers.

Launching the marketing campaign, Richard Lochhead MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs said:

“Scotch is a world renowned brand and products with that label are among the best quality that can be found anywhere.  Consumers have confidence in the brand and it is important that in the current climate, when people are looking very carefully at the provenance of their food, that we continue to build our good reputation both at home and overseas and continue to capitalise on new market opportunities. 

“In the sheep sector particularly, I share farmers’ disappointment that market returns have recently eased back after a prolonged period of high prices for both lambs and ewes, partly due to the weakness of the pound.  But I believe there are grounds for optimism. Scotland produces a natural, premium product which consumers at home and abroad are prepared to pay for.  We need to get better at maximising the opportunities and the support unveiled today is designed to do just that.

“I have also commissioned an independent audit across the meat sector to get a better understanding of the market place and retailer practises. We need to know what is on sale here, where it comes from and how it’s labelled. Crucially, we also need to know which retailers are the best supporters of our industry."

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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