A study to look at the feasibility of introducing DNA traceability as an additional measure to guarantee the authenticity of Scotch Beef PGI (Protected Geographical Indication), is being commissioned by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

The study follows a period of engagement with different parts of the Scottish meat industry, to gauge the level of industry support for the potential introduction of an official programme of DNA traceability system.

QMS Chairman Jim McLaren said the industry must be able to robustly defend the integrity of the brand and all that sets it apart, from any unscrupulous activity.

Emphasising that there are many steps already in place to prevent fraud at present, Mr McLaren said the introduction of a DNA monitoring program would further strengthen the checks already in place to underpin the integrity of the Scotch Beef PGI brand.

Mr McLaren added: "Consumer trust is a key aspect of our Scotch Beef PGI brand and protecting the brand is vitally important."

NFU Scotland welcomed the move but stressed that the must study provide a clear account of the potential costs and benefits of a system of DNA testing to the Scottish red meat industry.

Market round-up

C&D Auction Marts Ltd sold 4649 prime hoggs in Longtown on Thursday to a top of £160 per head and 338p per kg to average 232.2p (+13.1p on the week).

A much larger show of 5640 cast sheep saw heavy ewes sell to £165 for Texels and average £84.30 (-£8.62), while light/export-type ewes peaked at £88 for Blackfaces and levelled at £46.66 (-£4.87). Rams sold to £157 for a Charollais and averaged £78.37.

Harrison & Hetherington Ltd sold 137 store heifers in St Boswells on Thursday to a top of 253.5p per kg and an average of 225.5p (+7.8p), while 135 store bullocks peaked at 261.5p and levelled at 228.6p (-2.7p).

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 314 store heifers at Ayr on Thursday to a top of £1295 per head and 260.4p per kg to average £872.20 and 219.8p (-7.2p on the fortnight), while 407 store, beef-bred bullocks peaked at £1430 and 280.6p to level at £925.68 and 229.3p (-5.4p). Ninety-four store, B&W bullocks sold to £1000 and 200p to average £748.30 and 156.4p (+13.8p).

The firm went on to sell 79 store heifers in Newton Stewart yesterday to a top of £970 and 248.3p to average £712.85 and 213p (+£2.55 and +8p on the year), while 164 store, beef-bred bullocks peaked at £1200 and 257.3p to level at £847.32 and 220p (+£20.25 and +2p). Twenty-nine store, dairy-bred bullocks sold to £945 and 186.7p to average £648.18 and 173.9p (+£23.52 and +39p).