The EBLEX Quality Standard Mark (QSM) scheme for beef and lamb, which was established to differentiate quality product at home and abroad, already sets the bar pretty high. However, recently-announced enhancements to the scheme will push those standards even higher.
The new specifications, which promote “higher standards, better returns”, will come into effect on 6 August 2012. They cover animal age, carcase classifications and maturation, which combine to guarantee eating quality, a key element of the QSM.
Launched in 2004, the QSM has since gone from strength to strength. All major multiple retailers are members of the scheme, as are many processors, wholesalers, catering butchers and approximately 1,800 independent retailers.
Since the inception of the scheme, the whole industry has raised its game in terms of meat quality. Therefore the EBLEX board has taken the decision to strengthen the specifications to ensure that QSM remains a higher quality product and consumers’ expectations on eating quality are not compromised.
From the producers’ point of view, the changes will mean that those supplying animals into QSM supply chains will potentially see a benefit in their returns, and attract better market prices. Revised blueprints for beef and lamb production have also been created, ensuring that the scheme dovetails with EBLEX knowledge transfer activity through the Better Returns Programme.
The enhanced QSM will continue to sit alongside the Red Tractor scheme for beef and lamb. The Red Tractor is also a robust assurance scheme, championing safety standards from the farm to point-of-sale, however it does not have eating quality specifications, animal age restriction or carcase specifications in its standards.
For more information about the EBLEX Quality Standard Mark scheme call the Hotline on 0845 491 8787 or visit www.eblextrade.co.uk