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31. Quality Assurance Schemes (Quality Meat Scotland and Scottish Quality Cereals)


Quality Assurance Schemes are voluntary schemes implemented through a range of different standards to be fulfilled by farmers and processors. Standards are reviewed once a year by a group called a Standard Setting Body which advises Quality Meat Scotland and Scottish Quality Cereals. However, standards remain often unchanged and are only revised and modified if legislation changes, the industry best practice changes, consumer needs change or specific benefits for the industry can be identified (Quality Meat Scotland , 2005a and Scottish Quality Cereals, 2005a).

Quality Meat Scotland administers assurance schemes for Cattle and Sheep, Pigs, Processors, Feeds, Haulage, and Auction Markets setting standards for farm assured products and specific labeling. In the case of the cattle and sheep scheme, quality assurance standards are defined with respect to traceability, stockman competency (including e.g. farm husbandry and calving/lambing management), animal health and welfare (including e.g. livestock health and disease control plan and health and welfare of farm dogs), farm environment (including e.g. livestock housing and waste management), feed, and transport. Transport standards deal with loading and unloading of animals and, if farmers conduct animal hauling on their own, also e.g. animal welfare during transport and maintenance and hygiene of vehicles (Quality Meat Scotland , 2005a).

Recent changes to the label requirements for Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb demand that cattle or sheep have to be born, raised and slaughtered in Scotland and have to be assured from birth. Store producers need to be assured, not just finishers, if their animals are to be eligible to be called Scotch Beef or Scotch Lamb. Cattle and Sheep which were born in other UK regions and finished in Scotland can still be sold to an abattoir as farm assured but can not be labeled Scotch Beef or Scotch Lamb. However, while the bulk of levy collected by QMS is used to support the Scotch brand, QMS also provides support for companies to develop their other brands as long as they promote a quality message and benefit the Scottish industry as a whole (Quality Meat Scotland, 2005a).

Scottish Quality Cereals provides farm assurance scheme standards for cereals, oilseeds and pulses. Scottish Quality Cereals ensures that participating farms operate production systems encompassing high standards of crop management, and particularly that fertiliser, pesticide, growing, storage and overall farm standards have all been subject to an independent assessment procedure. Standards are defined for the use of fertilizers and, for crop protection practice, for the production and harvesting of cereals, for the storage of cereals (including temporary and longer term storage), and for the production and storage of oilseeds and pulses. Participation is open to all cereal producers in Scotland who demonstrate, by independent annual assessment that they operate to those standards. (Scottish Quality Cereals, 2005a). Membership payments in 2004/2005 vary depending on the cereal hectareage of the previous year between £85 (below 30 ha) and £245 (above 300 ha) (Scottish Quality Cereals, 2005b).

Participants of quality assurance schemes must comply with environmental legislations and regulations such as NVZ regulations and Codes of Good Practice. Participating farms, feed companies, haulage firms and auction marts are inspected on an annual basis. Processors are inspected 3 times a year (Scottish Quality Cereals, 2005).

Quality Assurance Schemes - Evaluation >>