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Industry leaders attend New Year lunch

Donald Biggar, Chairman of Quality Meat Scotland, and Peter Hewson, a consultant in veterinary public health, were the keynote speakers at SAMW’s New Year lunch in Edinburgh on Friday, January 14. 
In addressing what has become an important early year gathering of Scotland’s meat industry leaders, Mr Biggar reviewed his four years as QMS chairman, speaking ahead of his retirement from office in April this year. 
Association president, Alan Craig, took the opportunity to thank Mr Biggar for his work at QMS, adding: “This has been a challenging time for the whole industry and your chairmanship has been valuable and certainly appreciated by our members.” 
Mr Hewson, who has spent most of his working life with MAFF and the Food Standards Agency, delivered a detailed and informative assessment of meat inspection issues – past, present and future. His presentation drew an enthusiastic response from the gathering. 
Priorities for 2011  
Mr Craig also gave members and guests a brief assessment of SAMW’s priorities for 2011. 
“While we have seen many issues come and go in the past 12 months,” he said, “there is still much unfinished business ahead, including some really crucial issues. 
“Our lobbying to reduce BSE controls, for example, is paying off and we can expect some big decisions, which will reduce industry costs, to be taken soon. Less certain are the outcomes of CAP reform and the effect on livestock numbers. Good supplies of raw materials, in terms of quality livestock, remain the life blood of our industry. We all know the pressure that dwindling primary production places on our businesses. 
“Then, of course, there’s the continuing focus on the future of meat inspection and FSA charges. The successful solving of the differences of opinions which surround this issue will be crucial for all of us in 2011. As such, SAMW will continue to be heavily involved in the necessary debates about all these matters, always being prepared to think ‘outside the box’ if new solutions are required to overcome some very long-running problems.”