18th December 2009

Scottish processors urged to rediscover tripe skills

Tripe experts from all over the world have been consulted by Quality Meat Scotland during the creation of a new guide to help processors realise the potential of this type of offal.

The new tripe guide is one part of a £300,000 Scottish Government funded project to rekindle the trade in red meat products from what is known as “the 5th quarter” – the non-lean meat parts of the carcase such as offal and cheeks.

The project is also seeing specialists in offal harvesting visiting processors throughout Scotland and offering practical advice and demonstrations. If successful, it could help generate an extra £3 million a year for the Scottish red meat industry and see Scotland leading the UK in capitalising on 5th quarter opportunities.

In many parts of the world, including continental Europe, tripe (the offal from the stomachs of cattle and sheep) is viewed as a delicacy, featuring in dishes as diverse as Andouille sausages in France and the Pho in Vietnam.

As British food-lovers become more adventurous in their tastes there is growing interest in tripe here and the latest guide is part of a unique manual offering a step-by-step account of the forgotten craft of processing fifth quarter products.

The guide, being distributed to Scottish meat processing companies, gives easy to follow advice on how to harvest, process and quality check tripe destined for human consumption and fully realise the value of this high quality product. It also contains a time study to enable processors to fully evaluate the cost effectiveness of investing in harvesting tripe for sale and diverting it from waste.

If harvested properly and efficiently, not only do processors gain a profit from utilising all the parts of the carcase, not just the lean meat, it also saves them expensive costs for disposal, and this project will play a vital role in demonstrating the latest techniques and technologies to all Scottish abattoirs

Andy McGowan, Head of Industry Development for Quality Meat Scotland, said: “Tripe is a valuable, nutritious product which offers opportunities both in the domestic and export markets.

“Every part of the animal - from the fillet to the offal - has been raised to the same world leading assurance standards, so it’s a real waste for companies to be paying to dispose of parts of the animal which are recoverable and marketable.

“In a time which has seen profit margins at the processing stage squeezed, it’s of critical importance for companies to see where they can increase income, increase efficiency and cut costs, and the recovery and sale of fifth quarter products ticks all these boxes.”

Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said: “This support from Scottish Government gives processors a real opportunity to realise millions of pounds of extra revenue and shows our commitment to enabling businesses to play their part in cutting waste.

“Maximising the full economic value of the carcase makes sense on all levels, it generates additional income and reduces waste, thereby helping to deliver our goal of a sustainable future for the Scottish red meat industry.”

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