QMS implements planned approach to assurance assessments during coronavirus

QMS implements planned approach to assurance assessments during coronavirus

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) has outlined a planned approach of inspections of its six quality assurance schemes to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Over 90% of Scotland’s breeding cattle population, around 80% of breeding sheep and almost 100% of significant pig farming businesses are members of QMS farm assurance schemes.

All routine face-to-face quality assurance visits to processors, auction marts, hauliers, pig farms and cattle & sheep farms will cease for a minimum period of one month.

During the cessation of physical assessments, a remote/desktop assessment programme will be implemented to ensure that members’ certification continues seamlessly in these exceptional circumstances.

The process will involve members submitting certain information via email or post which will be evaluated and form part of the certification process.

The physical assessment of the premises will be undertaken once it has been agreed that this type of assessment can take place. This assessment will be required to formalise the full certification of the membership. Further details on this programme will be sent to the members who are due an assessment.

All members of the assurance schemes must still pay their renewal fees to keep continuity of membership.

Alan Clarke, chief executive of Quality Meat Scotland, said: “QMS has been closely following the current Scottish and UK government guidelines on what steps should be taken to protect ourselves and others from the coronavirus.

“Our priority is the health and safety of our staff, our contractors and our quality assurance members and, as we move into one of the busiest times of the year for producers, it is essential that we play our part in ensuring that their health is protected by providing workable solutions which still continue to underpin our world-class standards.”

QMS will be continually reviewing the advice from the Scottish Government and updates will be issued as required.

For more information on the revised assessment inspections, contact info@qmscotland.co.uk.

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