QMS pig scheme standards changed to address new Brexit requirement

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) has agreed a number of changes to its Pig Assurance Scheme Standards to support producers with some unexpected issues arising as a result of Brexit.

The changes, made after extensive consultation with industry partners, will come into effect on April 1.

At the request of the Government, the changes will provide a mechanism for OVs to sign off evidence, accompanying export health certificates (EHCs), that pigs are kept in Controlled Housing Conditions (CHC) to avoid the need for trichinella testing.

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 consequently 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 added: “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.  

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.