Scotland to bolster food safety laws after horsemeat furore

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Scotland Meat Food

The horsemeat scandal hit all the supply chain throughout Europe
The horsemeat scandal hit all the supply chain throughout Europe
Scotland is to strengthen its food safety laws in response to the findings of two reports focussing on the horsemeat fraud.

The legislation, in the Scottish Government’s Food Standards Scotland Bill that will create the country’s new food body, will give officers enforcement powers to seize food that does not meet food standards or labelling rules.

It will be compulsory to report non-compliance with food standards regulations, which cover food fraud.

The advisory group led by former Chief Vet Professor Jim Scudamore looked at food and feed safety and standards in Scotland ahead of the a new food body.

Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, considered traceability and labelling in the red meat sector.

Consumer trust

Michael Matheson, Public Health Minister, said people must be able to trust the food they buy and know what is in it.

“The horsemeat scandal severely dented consumer confidence here in Scotland and across Europe.

“People rightly wanted to see improvements made from the horsemeat scandal and these recommendations will allow progress to be made quickly.”

He said Scotland’s new food body will focus on consumer protection.

“It will make sure food in Scotland is safe to eat and it will improve the diet and nutrition of people in Scotland. Given the importance of food safety, and the value of the Scottish food industry to our economy, we must ensure we have a robust regulatory regime for food in Scotland.”

The government is to extend meat testing, to enable the identification of Scotch branded beef in future and asking retailers for more clarity in how they label red meat products as Scottish.

Strengthen defences

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead said as the scale and scope of the horsemeat scandal become clear, Scottish people turned to locally produced meat.

“Nevertheless, this government is determined to take action to further strengthen our defences and to build on the high levels of confidence in Scottish red meat.

“The EU needs to take this issue seriously as consumers need to be able to trust what they buy, and it is important that their confidence is not undermined by deliberate fraud and food mislabelling."

Quality Meat Scotland has already received £1m to strengthen consumer awareness of the provenance of the Scotch label and a further £1m investment to develop a multi species livestock database to improve traceability.

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