28 March 1997

Angus award would protect reputation

THE Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society is turning to the EU to protect the reputation of its beef.

It is applying for an EU certificate of specific character (CSC) to protect the name Aberdeen-Angus beef. Producers of Harris tweed and champagne have already used CSC legislation to protect their products. Breed society chief executive, Ron McHattie, said the award of a CSC "would give us the teeth to reduce, if not eliminate, the abuse from which the breed is currently suffering".

The society has been concerned for some time about abuse of the Angus name. "It is undermining the reputation of the genuine product and those who produced it," said Mr McHattie.

"We are determined to ensure as much protection as possible for all those in the marketing chain so that the consumer can have total confidence that the beef sold as Aberdeen-Angus is authentic."

Longer term, the society is working with Dr Peter Kitchen, managing director of Rosgen, the commercial arm of the Roslin Institute, Edinburgh, to create a database of DNA markers unique to the Aberdeen-Angus breed.

"The first stages of the work are under way. DNA profiling will supersede the Rosgen blood typing service and will give definite proof of parentage. In time, it is hoped that DNA markers will be able to be identified in Aberdeen-Angus beef," said Mr McHattie.n