Retailers must review sourcing and purchasing of meat

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Scottish industry can offer solutions to purchasing meat locally, Scotland’s Rural Affairs Minister Richard Lochhead has said.

According to Mr Lochhead, retailers should rethink their sourcing policy on all meat and meat products they stock.

Speaking ahead of a further meeting with retailers, processors and the UK Government in London on Monday, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs urged them to take action as investigations into the current horse meat issue continue.

Mr Lochhead also highlighted that the food sector in Scotland must make sure they are equipped, and have assurances in place, to help retailers purchase meat locally.

Mr Lochhead said:

“Recent events across Europe are completely unacceptable.  Consumers need to be confident that food is what it says on the label and I have spoken to major retailers this week to urge them to reconsider their sourcing policies.

“Retailers response to this issue is very frustrating and has raised serious questions. Of course testing is the priority, but it is also the very least they should be doing.  They must also be reflecting on their sourcing and purchasing policies. It is deeply concerning if not.

“They simply must consider how to shorten their supply chains as well and source more of their product locally.  And the food sector in Scotland must be ready and have assurances in place to help retailers to do this.

“While Friday’s initial test results offer some reassurance that this issue is not widespread, detailed inspections continue to be carried out and I hope that further reassurance can be offered in the coming days.

“As part of the testing, companies supplying meals to the public sector in Scotland, including schools, hospitals and prisons, have also been carrying out extensive checks. They have confirmed to date they are clear of any mis-labelled meat and so currently there is absolutely no evidence to suggest this is an issue in Scotland.”