Horsemeat scandal ‘undermines Scottish farmers’

The growing scandal over the use of horse meat in beef products sold in Britain’s supermarket is undermining Scottish farmers’ reputation for quality, according to NFU Scotland.

But in a news release on Friday, the union said its members were determined the issue would not be allowed to ruin that reputation.

NFU Scotland president Nigel Miller said: “The ongoing scandal on horsemeat is becoming increasingly frustrating for Scottish farmers who believe their hard work and reputation for quality is being undermined by potential illegality in some supply chains, wildly inaccurate labelling of processed products and a developing mistrust within the food supply chain.

“The Scotch label means the animal has been born, bred, reared, slaughtered and processed in Scotland with every step of the chain subject to assurance and audit. Every pack of Scotch meat carries codings that can trace it back through the chain to the farms of origin.

“Farmers in Scotland and throughout the UK comply with robust identification and traceability measures, stringent farm assurance programmes and are subject to very high levels of inspection. All of these have over the years rightly contributed to high levels of consumer confidence in purchasing a Scottish or British produced product.

“That is being undermined, however, by illegal actions elsewhere within the chain.

“It is up to processors and retailers to defend their own traceability measures, but we welcome the FSA announcement of an increased DNA testing regime for processed products over the next week.

“It is our hope that those further up the chain can confirm an exemplar traceability system as our farmers can, and that we will continue to report a clean bill of health here in Scotland.”