Gordon MP Richard Thomson has welcomed a response from Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon that Quality Meat Scotland is actively working with retailers in an attempt to reduce the number of assessments required of farmers and producers as part of the various quality schemes.
The SNP MP had concerns raised with him about the number of assessments required as part of the range of quality assurance schemes available to farmers and producers.
In a letter to Richard Thomson MP, Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said:
“Some retailers do require additional standards to be assessed and therefore conduct their own assessment, however QMS are working with retailers where possible to eliminate the need for additional assessments to take place, and if required, that they are conducted at the same time as a ‘bolt on’ assessment. This will help to reduce the time spent on farms by assessors thus only having one visit instead of multiple, this is of course work that is still in progress.”
Commenting, Richard Thomson MP said:
“There is no doubt that Scottish produce – and that from the North-east in particular – enjoys a deserved reputation for quality. That reputation has been carefully nurtured and built up over many years and it is important it is maintained. Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb are held in high regard across the world because of the quality evidenced through the assurance schemes.
“That said, I’m conscious that the range of schemes which operate, including some by individual retailers, can mean additional time and cost burdens on farmers and producers if they are not aligned. I’m therefore pleased the Cabinet Secretary has stated that Quality Meat Scotland is working with retailers to try to ensure that these assessments either coincide, or can be rolled-up into one. At the end of the day, everyone needs to benefit from these assurance schemes which provide the basis for the reputation of our produce.”
Note: Photograph attached shows Richard Thomson MP on a recent farm visit.