Scotland welcomes BSE progress

The granting of negligible risk status for BSE has been praised by the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW). 

The status was granted to Scotland by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Scientific Commission on 25 May. SAMW labelled the progress as an important step for the whole of the Scottish red meat industry.

“Scotland has lived with BSE since 1986 and the farming and meat industries have made massive efforts to manage and eradicate the disease,” commented SAMW president Frank Clark. “Today’s decision frees our industry to make full commercial use of Scotland’s high-health status on behalf of producers, processors and wholesalers, opening the door to fresh marketing opportunities around the world.”

SAMW first launched the case for negligible BSE status at the beginning of last year. The last confirmed case of a Scottish animal born in the country was in 2002.

“By confirming Scotland’s fully justified new status, the OIE has given our industry a new platform from which to rebuild,” added Clark. “The value of the fifth quarter (hides, offal and other by-products) disappeared overnight and previously saleable materials became waste. The loss of revenue and vastly increased waste disposal costs had a severe financial effect on the industry. Our improved BSE status will remove a potential barrier to trade, unlocking sales opportunities in markets that are keen to buy Scottish meat, but only accept products from negligible risk areas. We now have that status and will be seeking to renew trading routes accordingly.”

Clark recognised the support SAMW received from Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, through its campaign to achieve the status. Ewing provided OIE with statistics and information, informing it of the absence of BSE in Scotland.

“Once the campaign began, the Cabinet Secretary, his officials and all Scotland’s food and farm bodies worked together to deliver today’s [Thursday, 25 May] decision, which is of such great importance to the whole industry,” concluded Clark.

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