THE HORSE meat scandal has taken over the news recently causing people to think wisely when it comes to buying meat produce.
A North-east farm, which has recently undergone its annual SFQC (Scottish Food Quality Certification) inspection, wants to raise awareness and educate customers to re-install the trust back into buying local beef.
The Store in Foveran, near Ellon, last week (Wednesday 20 February) underwent its yearly inspection, which was carried out by an independent assessor working on behalf of the SFQC, an independent body specialising in the inspection and certification of food production.
The certified body performs inspections all over Scotland in order to ensure farms are operating up to compliance standards, with its main concern being of the welfare of the animals and traceability of produce.
The Store, is a family owned business run by husband and wife, Andrew and Debbie Booth who share a drive and passion for great, local produce. The business has its own farm and butcher on-site as well as farm store, and coffee shop. Having its farm and butchery onsite withholds the control that the firm has, giving them 100 per cent traceability against its product.
The business, which was launched in 2000, is in a unique position in the North-east to offer its customers full traceability from farm to fork as all the meat produce sold on-site is reared on the family farms and passed to the on-site butchery.
The full inspection of the farm took a few hours and involved every small detail being looked at, from the animal housing and farm machinery to records regarding the type of fertiliser used on its crops.
Owner of The Store and farmer, Andrew Booth, said: “Each year we go through extensive inspections in order to maintain the quality of our farm to ensure we are operating above compliance. The horse meat scandal will definitely have had an effect on consumer buyer patterns concerning meat, but as a farmer I go over and above board to maintain my farm and the operations to above industry standards.
”Consumers need to be educated to look for the farm assured on packaging and really realise what this means. Traceability is key these days and by relying on local producers comes traceability. We strive to offer our customers only the best quality produce and we have 100% traceability from farm to fork.
“Shopping locally helps the local economy, but when it comes to situations like this it is important that customers have the interaction from producers to enable them to feel at ease with their purchase and more importantly to have the peace of mind of where the meat has come from. At The Store we offer an open gate policy and welcome anyone at anytime through our farm gates to learn about the farming processes.”
Independent Assessor, Alan Davidson, said: “It is paramount that food is safe for the consumer and the farm inspections that I carry out ensure that there is full traceability which involves a lot of paperwork from the farm. The animals welfare is very important to us as well as the care that is taken by the farm against the environment. I am disappointed with the whole horse meat scandal however it only back ups how important it is to be a part of an assured scheme.”
The Store operate two family farms – Westfield, where The Store is located, and Savock farm, where their Aberdeen Angus cattle and native breed sheep are raised in open fields
As part of The Store’s vision, they strive to offer natural, high quality produce. The Aberdeen Angus cattle reared on the farm are on a year round grass diet, which ensures the beef is less wasteful, tastier and natural. The Store’s own Aberdeen Angus beef is matured on the bone for up to 21 days.
The store is open seven days a week 10am – 5pm and to find out more about The Store contact 01358 788083 or visit www.thestorecompany.co.uk.
Issued by Frasermedia Ltd on behalf of The Store.