NHS Boards sourcing meat locally

Publishing a report into the approach of NHS Boards to the procurement of locally sourced meat Dr Bill Wilson MSP – a member of the Scottish Parliament's Rural & Environment Committee - said there were very encouraging signs that NHS Boards were sourcing meat for hospital meals from Scottish Farm Assured produce.

Dr Wilson congratulated Tayside NHS Board in particular for making
great efforts in sourcing meat from Scottish Farm Assured produce as it would not only help local livestock farmers but play a part in
helping the environment as locally sourced produce has a much smaller carbon foot print.

Earlier this year Dr Wilson wrote to all of Scotland's NHS Trusts to
ask them to what extent they were implementing Quality Meat Scotland's (QMS) procurement recommendations. The document produced by the West of Scotland MSP revealed how stipulations with regard to quality, welfare and environmental impact could lead public bodies to purchase more Scottish Farm Assured produce.

Summarising the major findings, Dr Wilson said:

"The picture of NHS Boards procuring meat from locally produced
sources is encouraging. In such uncertain economic times it is a very encouraging sign that our NHS Boards are playing a part in helping Scottish livestock producers and those involved in the meat trade.

"Although European directives prohibit public procurement from
explicitly considering the country of origin, because Scottish farmers
produce quality products with high welfare standards and low
environmental impact it is entirely possible to honour that directive
and support local producers.

"In particular NHS Tayside deserves particular praise for its
ambitious approach. Not only does it intend looking at
carbon-reduction in the supply chain and whole-life costing models but it is also helping as an example to other public bodies about
responsible procurement.

"I very much hope that the other NHS Boards — and other public bodies throughout Scotland — can learn from NHS Tayside's experience.

"One area where there appears to be scope for improvement is in the NHS Trusts' sourcing of pork products. Scotland's pigs enjoy higher welfare standards than many overseas, so if welfare were a major consideration — as I believe it should be — then Scottish farmers would be justly rewarded for the care they take of their animals.

"QMS deserves considerable praise for its extensive work to promote Scottish produce for all the best reasons. I am delighted, though not surprised, that they were recently honoured at the Government Opportunities magazine's Excellence in Public Procurement Awards Scotland. Well done!"

QMS Chairman Donald Biggar said:

"We began working five years ago to help public bodies with their red meat sourcing and I'm pleased to say we've made significant progress. All 32 of Scotland's local authorities are now putting sustainability at the heart of their supply policies and that's excellent news for the people who rely on them for quality, nutritious food.

"It's also good news for the 20,000 red meat businesses in Scotland. The meat bill for Scotland's public sector stands at £6 million a year and we would like to see more of our companies getting the chance to compete for the business.

"As well as being able to supply excellent tasting beef, lamb and pork they can be satisfied that all the meat comes with assurances on production standards all the way from the field to the fork."

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