Elderly woman eating her lunch in hospital.(c) REX/Photofusion

Almost two-thirds of the red meat used by Scottish hospitals and councils comes from inside the country, a survey has found.

Research into public procurement showed 62% of fresh red meat is sourced from Scotland and another 34% came from the wider UK.

Lamb is the best-supported Scottish meat, with more than 82% coming from within the country, while all of the milk and fresh fish used by local authorities or NHS boards comes from Scotland.

Scottish eggs are used by seven of 31 councils, while another 23 use those from elsewhere in Britain.

“It is welcome recognition that the public sector appreciates the value of the PGI status of our Scotch beef and Scotch lamb brands, as well as the quality assurance schemes that underpin these brands and Specially Selected pork.”
Jim McClaren, QMS chairman

See also: Scottish red meat levy down as slaughter numbers fall

The project was funded by levy board Quality Meat Scotland and the Scottish government.

QMS chairman Jim McClaren said the results showed there was scope for further improvement, but excellent progress had been made.

“It is welcome recognition that the public sector appreciates the value of the PGI status of our Scotch beef and Scotch lamb brands, as well as the quality assurance schemes that underpin these brands and Specially Selected pork,” he said.

“The results of this project, which will increase awareness of the provenance of food used in Scottish local authorities and NHS boards, will benefit communities throughout Scotland and also the wider Scottish food industry.”

The Sustainable Food and Procurement Process report tracked the sourcing by NHS Scotland boards and councils of fresh beef, lamb, pork, fish, eggs and milk in one sample week.

The project also produced a food map for each public body, showing the location of each of the farms or landing ports where food was sourced from (see example below).

Scottish food secretary Richard Lochhead said the snapshot was “extremely encouraging” as it built a greater appreciation of where food came from.

“The sustainable procurement of foods brings opportunities for local companies through sustaining jobs and short supply chains,” he said.

Aberdeenshire Meat procurement map