, maintaining that this remains an absolute pre-requisite for the future success of the whole meat chain in Scotland. At the same time, however, SAMW leaders are to meet with farming representatives to examine the issues surrounding recent producer comments concerning the process of ensuring that cattle arrive at abattoirs in an acceptable condition.
"While we fully understand the points being made by some producers on this issue, we feel it is important for us to state clearly, once and for all, that the introduction of 'dirty cattle' into the abattoir environment is totally unacceptable," said SAMW president, Mr Isla Roebuck. "Dealing with dirty cattle within the abattoir environment would create a huge risk of contamination being passed to the end product both by physical dirt-to-meat contact and through air-borne distribution. "Our members are producers of clean, hygienic food and cannot condone the introduction of any risk of contamination. "To do so would be irresponsible. Finally, under the new hygiene regulations which came into force at the beginning of this year, our members are now designated as Food Business Operators (FBOs). In that context we carry the responsibility for the hygienic condition of the end product. "It's important that producers appreciate that they also carry FBO responsibility. We are all involved in the food business and dirty cattle entering the abattoir environment have no part to play in that business."