The prospect of a stand-alone meat inspection service for Scotland came one step closer at the Royal Highland Show when rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead announced the establishment of an independent panel to consider its merits.
The panel, which will be chaired by former UK chief vet, Jim Scudamore, will also consider the feasibility of a separate Food Standards Agency following the UK government’s decision last year to absorb some of the policy areas overseen by the FSA back into Whitehall departments.
The announcement was warmly welcomed by the Scottish Association of Meat Traders, which has spent the last two years campaigning for an independent regime in Scotland.
“Scottish plants are currently subsidising those down south, and the way things are run from London is hopeless,” said association president Alan Craig. “Any new system must maintain, and could even enhance, food safety, which is and always has been our priority consideration.
“Within this context, we obviously want to see decisions taken and changes made as soon as possible, for the good of the whole Scottish meat chain. What we also need is a long-term meat inspection solution which is relevant to Scotland’s world-class red meat processing sector and which will enable the Scottish meat chain to fulfil its potential, at home and abroad.”
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