5th Quarter Blueprint For Scottish Abattoirs

A unique manual offering a step by step account on the forgotten craft of processing 5th quarter products, such as offals and cheeks, has been distributed to Scottish meat processing companies.

The move is part of a £300,000 Scottish Government funded project to rekindle 5th quarter trade in Scotland with the potential to generate an extra £3 million a year for the Scottish red meat industry.

Quality Meat Scotland has been given the job of coordinating the work and is drawing on experts from all over the world to deliver a package of specialised information and training in every Scottish abattoir.

QMS Head of Industry Development Andy McGowan said: "This manual is an important first step in a move that could see Scotland leading the way in the UK in capitalising on known opportunities for 5th quarter products.

"It's effectively a blueprint on harvesting lesser known parts of the carcase for profit and minimising waste that currently costs companies disposal costs. It's an out and out win win situation for them.

"There are established  markets available for this trade now that regulatory changes are making it possible and that's what's sparking interest within abattoirs for becoming involved. At a recent buyer/supplier meeting we had meat company representatives from as far away as Vietnam expressing interest in sourcing product from Scotland."

Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said: “This project – backed by significant funding from the Scottish Government - could generate millions of extra revenue for our red meat industry and also sends out a strong message to the rest of the UK that we mean business when it comes to cutting waste and meeting ambitious environmental targets.

“We are determined to provide a sustainable future for livestock production in Scotland while at the same time ensure that our food and drink industry goes from strength to strength.”

Trade in the 5th quarter used to be a vibrant market for Scotland's red meat businesses before BSE control measures prevented offal from being sold. Not only do they gain a profit from utilising all the parts of the carcase, not just the lean meat, it also saves them expensive costs for disposal. These costs have continued to spiral but the legislation is gradually being scaled back so big opportunities are appearing once more.

Inevitably the specialised skills that are required to harvest these products effectively were lost when demand declined so this project will play a vital role in demonstrating the latest techniques and technologies to all Scottish abattoirs.

The Scottish Government is providing funds towards the cost of this project from the FMD resilience fund announced by the Cabinet Secretary in October 2007, with QMS managing the project.