Jim McLaren, chairman of Quality Meat Scotland, said it was important to recognise that the laboratory product which was unveiled yesterday has been developed using science which is at an extremely early stage.
“There are also a huge number of unknowns about this technology such as the environmental impact of this type of production system - in sharp contrast to the top quality natural meat our farmers take pride in producing in Scotland.
“In Scotland cattle and sheep graze on land which is generally unsuitable for other types of food production making it very environmentally sustainable. This type of mixed farming is recognised by leading wildlife organisations as critical to the maintenance of many hill and upland habitats, enhancing biodiversity and supporting a landscape much loved by tourists.”
Mr McLaren also emphasised the importance of traditional red meat production which contributes more than £2 billion to Scotland’s economy and supports around 50,000 jobs, many of which are in very fragile rural communities.
“Consumers can have confidence in the fantastic quality and taste when they buy meat bearing the Scotch Beef logo which guarantees traceability and high standards of welfare through our world-leading quality assurance schemes.
“Naturally-produced red meat is also an important source of protein, vitamins, minerals and iron and our extensive grass and forage-based beef and lamb production systems lead to a higher content of essential fatty acids such as omega 3.”