AHDB to close its Quality Standard Mark Scheme
The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is to end its Quality Standard Mark Scheme (QSM) for beef and lamb in March 2022.
The Scheme, which is fully funded by AHDB, was launched in 2004 and is based on existing assurance schemes. It includes requirements which AHDB said “have a positive impact on meat quality”, such as age specifications for cattle and sheep and maturation times.
AHDB’s Beef and Lamb Sector Board, which agreed the move, now sees the focus for levy support shifting to a new approach to meat quality that focuses on building and disseminating the supporting science to the industry.
The decision comes as the wider industry has made advances in meat eating quality for beef and lamb, with retailers, catering butchers and supply chains now developing their own branded and tiered ranges based on the latest available science. AHDB explained that these advances have helped “drive continuous improvement through the supply chain and generate a better eating experience for consumers.”
Will Jackson, AHDB beef and lamb strategy director, said: “Improving meat quality and consistency of product is a constant ask from our industry, but concerns around red meat and health and the environmental impact of livestock production in this country are now displacing eating quality as the main issues for consumers.”
AHDB will continue to support both West Country PGIs for beef and lamb, and its Meat Quality Masterclass programme, which has now restarted as Covid-19 restrictions have lifted.