School children learn the value of Scottish meat

A Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) initiative is providing the opportunity for every secondary school in Scotland to apply for a voucher worth up to £100, which can be exchanged at local retailers for meat products such as Scotch Beef PGI, Scotch Lamb PGI, and specially selected pork.

QMS developed the scheme due to concerns that tight budgets may result in Scottish schools not being able to afford fresh red meat products for cookery classes. This could subsequently leave many students leaving school without knowing how to cook simple and healthy meals.

“We think it is really important to encourage Scottish secondary school pupils to eat well by showing them how to cook simple, nutritious meals which can be made on a budget,” explained Jenni Henderson, nutritionist and QMS health and education executive.

“The feedback from schools has been fantastic with teachers clearly considering the voucher to be a very valuable resource.”

Last year, more than 315 secondary schools took part in the scheme, which QMS recognise to be a key element in educating consumers about the role of red meat in a healthy and balanced diet.

“Lean red meat not only tastes good, but is a great source of protein, B vitamins, iron and zinc. With more than a third of Scotland’s young people lacking in iron, red meat is an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet.”

To help launch the Schools Meat Voucher Scheme for 2015, judo Olympian Sarah Clark visited Edinburgh butchers Findlays of Portobello.

She said that red meat helped her achieve her Olympic goals: “During my time as an elite athlete, lean red meat was a very important part of my diet. It contains lots of protein which is used in the body to build and repair muscle and organ tissues and iron which helps form our red blood cells. As an athlete, lean red meat as part of a wide varied diet helped make sure my body had all the nutrients needed for training, competing and recovery.”

Home economics teachers in Scotland should apply for their vouchers before 31 December. Depending on the number of pupils on the school roll, the vouchers could be worth up to £100 and are valid until mid-February. They can be redeemed at local butchers and retailers.

Vouchers can be applied for via the QMS website: by clicking on ‘health and education/schools’.

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