Jim McLaren, Chairman of Quality Meat Scotland, said:
“Today’s news is disappointing and a major blow for Broxburn staff, many of whom are highly skilled and experienced and a valuable asset for the industry.
“While this is also a black day for the Scottish pig industry, it is very important to view today’s announcement in a wider context.
“History has repeatedly shown that one of the great strengths of the Scottish pig industry is its farmers’ ability to adapt and respond strongly in the face of challenge. This professional industry has proved its capacity to exceed customer expectations by delivering top quality, efficiently-produced pigmeat time and time again.
“During the past three months Quality Meat Scotland, working closely with Vion, the Scottish Government and the wider industry including NFU Scotland, has been busy investigating opportunities behind the scenes.
“As well as brokering links between parties who could have a potential interest in purchasing the Broxburn premises, or parts of that site, we have also been looking at the scope to increase pig slaughtering capacity in Scotland. There is certainly potential to do that at some of the 18 existing pig processing sites in Scotland.
“During the consultation period there has also been unprecedented interest in Scottish pork and pigmeat products resulting in improved understanding of what sets the pig industry in this country apart, such as the priority given to health and welfare.
“Indeed consumer awareness of the Specially Selected Pork label increased to a record 41% in Scotland this summer following a marketing campaign by QMS.”