4th August 2010

QMS statement regarding cattle and cloning

A spokesman for Quality Meat Scotland reiterated the advice of the Food Standards Agency that there is no reason for consumer concern about the food safety of products from cloned animals or their offspring.

“It is very important that consumers completely understand there is no risk to human health. It is also important to remind consumers the beef produced by our Scottish red meat industry – renowned for its quality world-wide - is underpinned by rigorous quality, welfare and traceability standards.

“The beef supply chain throughout the UK has a robust and transparent animal tracking system in place and this helped to prevent meat from a second animal finding its way into the food chain,” he said.

The FSA is currently investigating how this incident came about and Quality Meat Scotland is confident the findings of this will be acted on by the FSA to ensure any additional measures required to prevent this happening again will be identified and put in place.

The spokesman also pointed out the animal which was slaughtered last year would not have entered the food chain under the Scotch Beef label as the specifications for Scotch Beef exclude older animals such as cows and breeding bulls.

Scottish Beef Industry Key Facts:

  • Beef production is the largest sector of Scottish agriculture contributing £581 million in 2009.
  • Cattle used for beef production contribute 26% of agricultural output in Scotland (2009)
  • Direct employment in livestock production and primary processing in Scotland amounts to around 27,000 employees and owners.  The wider Scottish red meat industry supports around 50,000 jobs.
  • The Scottish beef cattle breeding herd totalled 521,000 animals in December 2009.
  • To meet the specifications required to use the Scotch Beef logo meat products must come from cattle born, reared and slaughtered in Scotland. Furthermore the cattle must also have been assured from birth through either Quality Meat Scotland’s Farm and Processor Assurance Scheme or an equivalent. Strict “whole life” standards must be met to qualify for Scotch Beef status and premises are inspected annually to ensure transparency throughout the production chain. Older animals, including cows and breeding bulls, are excluded from carrying the Scotch Beef logo.


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