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QMS Joins European Debate on Future of Food Quality Labelling

Food experts from all over Europe are converging on Prague on Thursday (12th March) to debate the future of food labelling including the use of quality marks such as the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI).

Quality Meat Scotland, the Scottish red meat industry promotional and development body, has been invited to attend as the single largest producer of PGI products in the EU.

QMS Head of Marketing Laurent Vernet will represent the interests of Scottish red meat businesses at a meeting that many predict could lead to ground breaking changes in labelling and food schemes.

He said: “We will watch this debate with interest as decisions taken here may well result in significant changes in the way the quality of food is defined and how quality marks can be used as a marketing tool.

“Scotch Beef was the first European meat product to be granted the coveted PGI status closely followed by Scotch Lamb. Not only were we the first, we also produce higher volumes of PGI bearing product than anywhere else in Britain and that makes us key players in this debate.

“If the European food industry is considering changes to quality food labelling and marketing it’s important we make sure the Scottish red meat industry’s interests are to the fore.

“Having PGI status has more than proved its worth over the years and helped set us apart from our competitors. It’s particularly highly regarded on the continent as a sign of superior quality and has helped us build valuable export sales.”

Mariann Fischer Boel, the EU Commissioner for Agriculture, will lead delegates for the two day debate in the Czechoslovakia capital. The agenda and workshops are based on the Green Paper issued by the European Commission in October last year.

Conference conclusions will be combined with results from a consultation exercise on the Green Paper to inform a Communication on Quality Policy due out in May 2009, which could later lead to legislative changes by the European Commission.