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Quality Meat Scotland celebrates Scottish red meat sector at parliamentary event

MSP Jim Fairlie

QUALITY Meat Scotland (QMS) highlighted its plans to support and protect the growth of Scotland’s red meat industry at its recent parliamentary reception.

The event, which took place on the 17 January, was hosted by QMS and sponsored by Jim Fairlie, MSP for Perthshire and South Kinross-shire, and highlighted the role that the Scottish red meat supply chain plays in the nation’s economy, wider society and its sustainability objectives.

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The reception welcomed 130 attendees from across the red meat supply chain and a number of MSPs from urban and rural constituencies and regions across Scotland. During the event, attendees learned about the work QMS has been doing to promote, protect, support and develop the Scottish red meat supply chain, with a focus on Scotland’s society, economy, environment, food security and public health.

Mairi Gougeon, MSP for Angus North and Mearns and Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, also gave an address to the audience.

Jim Fairlie, MSP for Perthshire and South Kinross-shire, said: “Supporting Scotland’s red meat industry is something I take great pride in doing. The red meat sector has a significant positive impact on the Scottish economy, environment and society – ensuring food security is safeguarded and encouraging locally sourced and regenerative purchases and, because of this, it is vital that we look at ways to nurture and grow the supply chain. 

“A big thank you to the QMS team for hosting the parliamentary reception, those who attended on the day and to Professor Alice Stanton for providing insight into the important role red meat plays in today’s society.”

Professor Alice Stanton, a Cardiovascular Pharmacologist from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, and also Director of Human Health with Devenish Nutrition, was also in attendance, speaking with the guests about her ground-breaking research.

Professor Stanton’s research has brought into question the data produced for the much- referenced Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Risk Factors 2019 report. This report, published in The Lancet in October 2020, stated that eating even a few mouthfuls of red meat weekly was bad for human health, but provided no evidence for this draumatic claim.

Professor Stanton’s public questioning of the GBD 2019 report has resulted in further GBD publications in The Lancet (March 2022), and in Nature Medicine (October 2022), where considerable errors in the the GBD 2019 report are admitted, and the GBD Collaborators now conclude that there is little if any evidence that unprocessed red meat is associated with any increased risk to human health.

Speaking at the event about her ground-breaking research, Professor Alice Stanton said: “At least two billion of us worldwide consume enough calories but dietary quality is inadequate. What is missing are key amino acids, vitamins (vitamins A, B12 and D) and minerals (iron, zinc, iodine and calcium), all of which are naturally present in animal sourced foods – Consumption of red and white meats, dairy, seafood and eggs, as part of a healthy balanced diet is key.

“If we try to replace nutrient rich animal sourced foods with plant-based ultra-processed foods (veggie burgers, mushroom sausages, barbequed jackfruit etc.), which are filled with excess calories, sugar, salt and multiple cosmetic additives, we are very likely to harm human health, and it is women, children, the elderly and those on low incomes who will be particularly adversely impacted.”

Sarah Millar, Chief Executive at QMS, said: “We’re delighted to have had so many guests attend our parliamentary reception to hear about the work we’re doing to support and protect the growth of such an integral sector in Scotland. We hope the information and tools we shared with guests will help build a greater understanding of the red meat sector and encourage both consumers and decision makers to engage in more fact-based conversations surrounding the industry.

“Back in October QMS Chair, Kate Rowell and I attended The Societal Role of Meat Conference in Dublin, the first global gathering of the scientific community which outlined the evidence base for red meat as part of a healthy, green prosperous society. We encourage any scientist or researcher to sign the Dublin Declaration to help highlight the evidence that underpins red meat production and consumption, particularly here in Scotland.

“The Scottish red meat supply chain generates over £2 billion annually to Scotland’s economy, which is why it’s so essential for us to showcase the work we do to support well-managed livestock to help deliver sustainable farming systems whilst also conserving Scotland’s food security.”

Keep up to date with QMS’s activities during these events by following QMS on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

For more information on Scotch Beef PGI, Scotch Lamb PGI or Specially Selected Pork, visit

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