Lochhead urges retailers to source local meat

Scottish retailers have been urged to source all meat and meat products locally.

Speaking ahead of a meeting in London today (Monday 18 February) with the UK government, retailers and processors, Scottish rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead called on retailers to rethink their sourcing policy on all the meat and meat products they stock.

He said the Scottish food sector needed to make sure it was equipped and had assurances in place, to help retailers source meat locally.

“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,” said Mr Lochhead.

“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.”

Initial test results on Friday had offered some reassurance that the horsemeat issue was not widespread, it was hoped results from further inspections and tests would offer assurance in the coming days, added Mr Lochhead.

“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,” he said.

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