Reputation of Scots meat will protect it post-Brexit

Long-standing trade relationships will help Scotch Beef. Picture: Contributed
Long-standing trade relationships will help Scotch Beef. Picture: Contributed
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The work put in by all ­sectors of the Scottish red meat industry into building strong brands and ­producing top quality products have earned the trade an iconic global ­reputation which will stand it in good stead in the post-Brexit world.

Speaking after a meeting of its board of directors, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) chairman Jim McLaren said that the main message being put out by the organisation to customers the world over who appreciated the quality of Scottish red meat was that it was “business as usual” for the sector.

While admitting that there was a great deal of uncertainty for the whole farming industry following the EU referendum, he said that the meat sector was in a position which would allow it to adapt well to the changes which were likely to ensue over the coming months.

McLaren said that the long-established relationships with customers in export markets around the globe – as well as those in the UK – would also stand the industry in good stead.

He said: “The value of forging these close relationships shines through during times of change, and it is important that our industry continues to maintain very open channels of communication with customers. The ‘business as usual’ message is loud and clear.”

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McLaren also said there was no reason to believe the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status of Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb would be changed when the UK left the EU: “There are numerous examples of non-EU member countries with products which benefit from PGI status, from Colombian coffee to Indian tea.

“We see no reason why Scotch Beef PGI and Scotch Lamb PGI – which were among the first meats in Europe to be awarded PGI status – should not continue to benefit from PGI status as long as the necessary production criteria are in place.”

McLaren also emphasised that QMS remained fully committed to its core remit of working to shape a prospering and sustainable Scottish red meat industry.

He said: “As an industry in Scotland we have worked hard to build strong brands and to produce top quality products which have earned an iconic global reputation.

“We are determined to ensure these brands, with their long-established, robust foundations, continue to be well-placed to adapt and grow in the new political landscape as it unfolds.”

Meanwhile, the organisation’s head of marketing, Laurent Vernet, said that QMS was currently in the second year of a campaign, co-financed by the EU, to market Scotch Beef PGI and Scotch Lamb PGI across six member states including the UK. He said this programme would end on 30 June, 2017.