PROGRESS ON BEEF LABELLINGTuesday, 25th May 2010
The meeting was very constructive with both parties keen to seek ways to promote the Scottish label given that voluntary beef labelling require official approval. It was agreed that there are simple options for butchers to substantiate claims and SFMTA agreed to investigate a route whereby claims could be verified in the most efficient way possible.
Both parties agreed that maintaining the reputation of Scottish beef, its breeds and producers had to be an integral part of the verification process.
SFMTA Chief Executive Douglas Scott said:-
“We were impressed with the desire of the Scottish Government to assist in finding a solution to our problem. They have asked us to put forward a low cost viable process that will lead to butchers being able to give their customers much information about the beef they are selling.”
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:
“I am grateful to SFMTA for highlighting their concerns and agreeing to work with my officials to ensure that the consumer can have confidence in the provenance of the beef they purchase on Scotland’s High Streets. I am proud that our butchers are so passionate about promoting Scottish beef and veal and we will continue to work with them to reduce red tape and compliance costs whilst ensuring provenance claims can be verified.”
The Scottish Government is also pursuing changes to the food labelling regime at EU level on mandatory origin labelling for meat, meat and dairy products in the Food Information to Consumers Regulations (FIR) negotiations. Part of this engagement includes changes to the voluntary beef labelling regime at both EU and domestic level.
In parallel to these negotiations, The Scottish Government are encouraging voluntary provenance declarations on menus through the Provenance Toolkit (provenanceonaplate.co.uk), launched in March. The toolkit is designed for the food and drink service sector to help hotels, restaurants etc. to get more provenance information onto menus with clear advice to customers on where their food has come from.