MP backs quality Scotch beef in Commons debate

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Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has spoken up for quality Scotch Beef in the House of Commons.

The SNP’s Westminster Agriculture spokesperson was responding to a statement from UK Secretary of State for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Owen Paterson, on horsemeat and food fraud.

Following the Secretary of State’s update on the situation to the House of Commons this evening, he was asked by Dr Whiteford: “I think we have all been shocked by these unacceptable failures in our food supply chain.

“Does the Secretary of State agree that one way we can be absolutely sure what is on our plates is to buy Scotch beef—quality assured and fully traceable—preferably from a local butcher, and not least that which is produced in Banff and Buchan?”

Responding, Secretary of State Owen Paterson agreed and said: “The hon. Lady is absolutely right. I talked to her Minister, Richard Lochhead, only yesterday. She may be a great advocate of locally produced Scottish beef, and I may be a great advocate of British beef—or Shropshire beef—but she is absolutely right that British consumers should have faith in locally produced food.”

Speaking from Westminster after the debate, Dr Whiteford said: “The quality assurance schemes in Scotland guarantee Scotch Beef comes from cattle born, reared and slaughtered in Scotland. The industry, rightly, takes great pride in the world-leading traceability which it has in place. The clear message to consumers should be that bodies such as Quality Meat Scotland have rigorous assurance schemes in place covering everything from animal welfare to haulage standards; from auction marts to processors.

“By supporting your local independent high street butcher, the consumer can be assured that they are purchasing meat of the highest quality and traceability.”

Meanwhile, during a visit to Peterhead’s West End Butchers, Dr Whiteford said: “We are lucky to have so many really good butchers in this area, offering top quality, fully traceable produce. If you want to be sure what’s on your plate, look for the Scotch quality assurance label, and support local businesses.”