Labelling battle slows to a crawl

A pilot scheme in Scotland, which means butchers will be able to tell customers where their beef is from, has been hit by the poor weather.


The Scottish Federation of Meat Traders' Associations (SFMTA) battled for months last year to end legislation that meant butchers were banned from saying where they sourced their beef, as reported by MTJ Extra. But, despite winning a reprieve from the Scottish government on the EU legislation, its own scheme has been slowed down by the snow in December and the SFMTA's campaign against the proposed introduction of more fees for medium-sized abattoirs.


The trade body has developed a cheaper solution, which will enable traders to label which farm their beef originates from, using passports, invoices and delivery notes. It had intended to roll out the scheme across its 450 members in January.


SFMTA chief executive Douglas Scott said: "We have started, but not completed, this dual inspection. So far, 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."


Scott added there would be further advances on the pilot scheme within the next few weeks and stressed that reaching the best solution for butchers, farmers and customers was more important than speed at this stage.


Two firms that first openly challenged the situation, HM Sheridan's of Ballater and Macbeths of Forres, were specially chosen to pilot the new scheme.

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