PROCESSED beef products need better 'country of origin' labelling to help shoppers make the choice to support Scotland's farmers and crofters.

In a letter to the Defra Minister George Eustice, NFU Scotland this week asked that shoppers be given the ability to identify where the beef they are buying comes from, whether it is fresh or processed.

Scottish beef is an industry leader in quality, animal welfare and in environmental delivery, said the union, the UK Government should act to allow shoppers to tell through clear labelling whether or not a product contains home produced beef.

With beef farmers experiencing a three year low in prices for prime cattle, the union has produced a six point action plan to drive changes that will improve the market situation – and one of those actions is better labelling.

NFUS believes that this is an area which the UK Government could legislate upon the UK’s departure from the European Union. Livestock committee chair Jimmy Ireland said: “Consumers need to be able to be confident when they are buying beef products that they are getting high quality, high welfare, environmentally considerate Scottish beef with low food miles.

“Although we have strong regulations on the labelling of fresh beef products, there are significant weaknesses in the regulations surrounding processed beef which too easily allows for imported beef to be used without the consumer being aware.

“Improving the country of origin labelling on processed beef products will not only improve consumer confidence, it will also improve the transparency within the supply chain as consumers will have confidence in where all their beef products come from.

“Clearer origin labelling should also be progressed for processed lamb, pork and chicken products so that the Scottish public can support domestic livestock production across the sectors," he added.