Fresh meat vouchers for Scotland

Schoolchildren in Scotland are to receive lessons in how to cook fresh meat in a project launched by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) to combat rising obesity figures.

The QMS Meat Voucher scheme, piloted in Glasgow last year, is to be launched in around 100 secondary schools, to teach children how to cook quality, nutritious meals. Home economic departments will receive a voucher worth £100 to spend on fresh meat for cookery lessons in areas such as Edinburgh, Fife and Perth.

QMS health and education coordinator Jennifer Robertson said: "The voucher can be redeemed by teachers at the local butcher's shop and can be used to buy Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb or Specially Selected Pork. The scheme is backed up by a specially produced recipe book, chock full of healthy and tasty recipe ideas.

"Each of the recipes has been nutritionally analysed and they are all quick, simple, healthy, and taste fantastic. The recipes tackle the issue of fitting great cooking and real eating into a young lifestyle at low cost."

According to QMS, many schools were unable to afford using fresh red meat in the classroom, as figures show that Scotland has the highest levels of obesity in the world, second only to the USA.

One teacher involved in the Glasgow pilot scheme said: "The pupils seemed more proud of their dishes when they knew where the meat came from.

"It was a fantastic idea and we made a point of explaining the scheme to pupils to draw their attention to the fact they were using good quality meat."

The voucher, which will be sent to schools involved in the scheme, is valid for multiple purchases of Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb or Specially Selected Pork from independent retailers including members of the Scotch Butchers Club.

Robertson added: "We hope that the Meat Voucher Scheme will help to enthuse our young people about the health and social benefits of cooking Scotland's top-quality, natural produce."

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