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QMS sets new standard for livestock producers

QUALITY CONTROL: The new QMS scheme aims to provide reassurance to consumers of provenance and highest standards of production.

Cattle and sheep producers who are members of Quality Meat Scotland will be required to meet new conditions from April 1.

The changes, which have been approved by the QMS board, follow an industry review.

New standards include the need for an annual livestock health and welfare review to be undertaken by a nominated vet or vet practice.

The standards also state that the highest priority critically important antibiotics (HP-CIA) can only be used as a last resort under veterinary direction.

Sheep being loaded on to a live animal transporter to be taken to market.

From April fixed fuel tanks must be bunded and spillages prevented from entering watercourses. A manure management plan must be kept and followed when applying manures and/or slurries to land.

Meanwhile, new recommendations state that when using plant protection products, an integrated pest management plan (IPM) is completed and at least one member of staff should be responsible for administering medicines.

Other recommendations suggest a euthanasia policy is included within the farm’s animal health and welfare plan detailing emergency and routine euthanasia.

It is also recommended that personnel involved in euthanising livestock are trained in line with the Humane Slaughter Association guidelines.

QMS says the conditions have been amended to make them more user friendly with easy-to-read content.

The organisation’s head of brands integrity, Kathryn Kerr, said: “Consumers are showing an ever-increasing interest in how food is produced.

“The cattle and sheep assurance scheme is an essential element of QMS whole-chain assurance which underpins the integrity of the Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected brands.

“The scheme provides reassurance to consumers of provenance, highest standards of production, animal welfare and wellbeing, to deliver a quality eating experience.

“The standard setting body considered all feedback received during the review process and we have remained focused on ensuring the standards are practical and relevant for scheme members, to underpin the Scotch brands and reinforce consumer trust.”

Ms Kerr said QMS would be offering support to farmers to prepare for assessments as well as holding a series of health plan workshops over the coming months.

The standards can be viewed on the QMS website qmscotland.co.uk and all members will receive a copy by post in the coming days.

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