QUALITY MEAT Scotland is to host the first ever Scottish international conference on meat quality in Edinburgh next year.

Jim Walker, chairman of QMS, said the organisation had been asked by the International Meat Secretariat, the FIFA equivalent of the meat industry, to host the conference.

“This will bring together 300 of the leading players in the world meat industry,” he told industry leaders at a QMS breakfast on the opening day of this year‘s Highland Show.

“The theme has been specially chosen to highlight the commitment of our industry to quality, and it will give us all an opportunity to showcase Scotland to the world.

“By holding the conference just before next year‘s Highland Show we will also encourage our visitors to stay on and sample the best of what our farming industry has to offer.” 

The event would be especially appropriate if the export ban on over-30-month beef was lifted by then, he added.

“If the UK government would come off the fence and take a decision on the return of OTM beef, hopefully the goodwill of the Commission and other Member States will mean that the restrictions on beef exports that we have endured for eight long years, will be consigned to history by this time next year.”

Mr Walker blamed the Department of Health, and specifically England‘s Chief Medical Officer, for delays in lifting the OTM ban.

“The government set up the Food Standards Agency as an independent body and yet it then fails to act on the FSA advice,” he said.

This was a reference to the fact that the FSA has said that there is a negligible risk associated with re-introducing OTM beef to the food chain.

“The science says the beef is safe, but the delay smacks of political intrusion,” he said.