After extensive consultation with industry partners, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) has agreed a number of changes to the Pig Assurance Scheme Standards, to support producers with the unexpected issues arising as a result of Brexit, which will come into effect on the 1 April 2021.

Minor changes have been made to specific standards to reflect the legislation on controlled housing, these include taking practical precautions to make the housing and feed stores bird and rodent proof and in addition biosecurity plans must identify any possible landfill/rubbish sites within 2km from the premises.

Affecting almost 100% of significant pig farming businesses in Scotland which are members of the QMS Pig Assurance Scheme, Kathryn Kerr, Head of Brands Integrity for QMS, said:

“With the UK leaving the European Union, the Scottish Government called on QMS to assist with addressing some of the unforeseen issues that arose after Brexit. As an EU Member State, we operated a keeper self-declaration system around Controlled Housing Conditions (CHC) for pigs which meant that these animals were exempt from trichinella testing.

“Now that we have left the EU, Official Vets (OVs) will be required to complete an export health certificate (EHC) and part of this includes them signing off that the pigs or pig meat products come from CHC compliant premises. Given the assurance required to allow an OV to sign this off, it is no longer possible to reply on a self -declaration system.”

“Therefore, Scottish Government requested that we review our standards to aim to identify a mechanism that would enable OV’s to be able to sign this off therefore contributing to export sales.”

The QMS Pigs Standard Setting Committee considered all proposed changes during the interim review process and the changes have been approved by the Standard’s Setting Body.

Philip Sleigh, Chair of QMS Pig Standards Setting Committee commented:

“We have remained focussed on ensuring the addendum to the Standards are practical and relevant for scheme members, to underpin our brands, reinforce consumer trust and assist with export.”

Members will receive a copy of the addendum by post in the coming days and are also available to view online on the QMS website.