The scandal over horsemeat in processed food has seen sales in Scotch beef grow recently as customers look for proven quality, Scotland’s Rural Affairs Minister has revealed.
MSP Richard Lochhead was providing the Scottish Parliament with an update on the situation in Scotland when he revealed that some local butchers were reporting a 20% increase in sales.
The minister told Parliament that meat processing companies were also reporting an increase in orders for Scotch beef.
Addressing the Holyrood Chamber, Mr Lochhead urged consumers to “seek out the Scotch label” and added:
“Whilst we can’t be complacent on enforcement and strong standards, we must do all we can to promote and protect our world renowned Scottish Brands – particularly beef.
“Fortunately, we do not have the complex sometimes murky web of supply chains stretching across Europe.”
The Minister called on retailers to source closer to home, saying: “We have farmers with traceability systems for their meat through the Scotch label, and that’s why many customers are realising they can trust the Scotch label when buying meat.”
Testing carried out in Scotland has found no traces of horsemeat that has plagued the food industry in many other countries.
The chamber was told that the Scottish Government was the first in the UK to start inspections of meat processing plants after the scandal came to light in Ireland. Mr Lochhead described the issue as a “watershed moment” for how people view food.
The minister also revealed that extensive testing had thus far found no trace of contamination in the public sector in Scotland.
Mr Lochhead said: “Sustainably produced food and drink is a high priority for Scotland. Food and drink contracts are awarded in a way which balances price and quality issues before awarding a contract.
“It is not necessarily the lowest price that wins, quality is vitally important.”
He confirmed that that in Scotland there is no slaughtering of horses for human consumption, and no food manufacturing firm has been implicated in the horse meat scandal and illegal substitution of meat.