Scots scheme moves fast to build credibility
IN 1987 the Scotch Quality Beef and Lamb Association set its foundations in Scotlands meat plants.
There are now 20 members, with another 10 planning to join. Then, in 1990, the farmers scheme was introduced. This accounts for about 50% of livestock units -including up to 80% of finished cattle – in Scotland. In the next few years membership is expected to encompass between 10,000 and 12,000 producers.
In 1995/6 Scottish beef and lamb exports were worth £120m, and £100m, respectively. With the former written off and the latter now negligible, SQABL has not been slow to establish its credibility. It has integrated into the Guild of Scotch Quality Meat Suppliers as well as becoming an associate member of the Associate Guild of Butchers. Last year it achieved EN45011, the European standard for product quality assurance, which ABM (see below) is aiming for.
"All this is important to opening up our export market at the same time as satisfying all customers. It is, therefore, the way farmers will have to go if they want access to markets and bidders," explains SQABLs chief executive, Brian Simpson.
"Although it is premature to say which areas of our scheme need improving, it is well known we are looking at sewage sludge application standards. Environmental considerations are going to take a higher profile, although eating quality will probably also be discussed."
• Membership: +6500
• Subscription: £85 + VAT new members; £75 + VAT renewals.
• Website: http://www.sqabl.org.uk (to be launched at Scotch Beef 98).