Quality Assurance Standards - Spot Checks

With reassurance about the way animals are reared becoming ever more important to consumers, the spot checks are the perfect way to underpin existing measures in place to ensure the public can have confidence in the way animals in the QMS assurance schemes are cared for and in our Scotch Beef PGI, Scotch Lamb PGI and Specially Selected Pork brands.

Following on from a successful pilot programme in late 2019, the spot checks programme visits will recommence from late July, with a focus on farms that have, on several occasions, failed to meet full compliance with key risk standards, as well as an element of random visits. The existing process which sees spot checks undertaken where concerns are raised about a farm which is in the scheme will also continue.

The spot-check visit is very much focussed on the physical aspects on farm. The visits themselves should not be too onerous to members, Auditors will spend less time on the farm than during the annual audit with the primary focus being on the following areas:

  • Animal Welfare
  • Food safety
  • Environmental
  • Farm Appearance.

Only if the auditor has any concerns with the above areas will medicine records and other relevant paperwork be inspected.

“The Scots were the first in the world to introduce quality assurance schemes to underpin our standards of red meat production and we are very proud of what the industry has achieved.  Spot checks will allow us to manage reputational risk and underpin the ongoing credibility of our brands and assurance schemes,” said Kathryn Kerr, Head of Brands Integrity with QMS.

“This move will allow us to act quickly where we receive information about a member farm which may have let standards slip, as well as targeting those who we know have repeatedly failed to meet standards previously and carrying out a random spot check visits.”

Farmers who are selected to receive a spot check will receive 24 to 48 hours’ notice that the visit is taking place.  The exception to this is where a visit is viewed as more urgent as a result of special circumstances.

Animal welfare and wellbeing is at the core for all QMS assurance schemes, our standards are supported and approved by the Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Scottish SPCA), Scotland’s independent animal welfare charity.  As part of the scheme, the Scottish SPCA also carry out joint visits to QMS approved livestock farms along with Lloyd’s Register farm assessors.

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