MacBeth's First Into Beef Labelling Scheme

UK - The Scottish Federation of Meat Traders (SFMTA) has been working closely with the Scottish Government to come up with a low-cost solution to allow Scotland’s butchers to tell customers which farms their beef comes from.
calendar icon 31 May 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

SFMTA has sought to provide a scheme that would allow butchers to identify where their beef comes from on their own websites and boards outside their shops.

In conjunction with the Scottish Government – which administers the EC regulations –SFMTA has developed a simple, inexpensive solution using its own butcher training assessors and existing evidence of passports, invoices and delivery notes, instead of reams of red tape.

Macbeth's of Forres, which was among the first to openly challenge the regulations, was specially chosen to pilot the new scheme. The firm has now had claims verified that allow it to use a description of its supplying farm – Edinvale – and sex, breed, breeding, animal production terms and meat maturation terms.

The scheme is simple enough but requires fairly onerous traceability within the butcher's shop. This is not insurmountable and is an operational issue that can be addressed in the working environment.

Reaching the best solution for butchers, farmers and customers has been more important than speed of introduction but now SFMTA is ready to help other butchers who are in need of verification of their beef labelling claims. An application form can be requested from the Federation office.

Jock Gibson, managing director of Macbeth's, said: "I am so glad that we can legally use information garnered from the Governments own document's i.e. cattle passports together with provable factual information that most citizens would take for granted as acceptable, such as who you buy from and how long you have had it.

"This has been going on for years and has cost us a lot of money and put us at a severe disadvantage so I am indeed grateful to the SFMTA and the Scottish Government for brokering a pragmatic solution to a very silly situation."

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