Andrew Loftus and Charles Sercombe will co-chair the committee
The new owner of Meat and Livestock Commercial Services (MLCS) has announced the formation of a new, industry-led and independent scrutiny committee to safeguard ‘consistency, transparency and independence’.
In March, sources told Farmers Guardian they were concerned the move to become a private company could put pressure on employees to turn a blind eye to practices which devalue carcases.
The Carcase Classification Scrutiny Committee (CCSC) has been set up in response to industry concerns.
It will be co-chaired by Andrew Loftus and Charles Sercombe and include key representatives from red meat stakeholder groups.
David Peace, chairman of HallMark, which acquired MLCS at the end of November, said he welcomed the opportunity to ‘demonstrate continuity and to uphold the independence that MLCS has been known for’.
“MLCSL has a very strong reputation and from my perspective, any initiative where we are able to work more closely with industry bodies to continue this and, potentially, enhance services further, can only be a positive move.”
Andrew Loftus said: “As an industry-led group, acting independently, we will work closely with the new owners to ensure the highest standards of classification, consistency across Great Britain and absolute fairness between processors and farmers.
“It is very encouraging that farmer and processor groups have jointly agreed a comprehensive Quality Standard which will guide our work, and which also gives producers a right of appeal, should a dispute arise.
“This is a new era and farmers should be in no doubt that we will protect the independence of classification for the good of the industry.”
Lizzie Wilson from the National Pig Association (NPA) and a member of the committee said it was their job to ensure a ‘fair and professional service’ was delivered.
“We need consistent data that producers can access and if any issues arise or they feel their views are not being respected, they now have a group they can turn to.”
Nick Allen, of the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) said they were looking for a seamless transfer and it would be business as usual for suppliers.
"It is about ensuring transparency and fairness for all involved in the meat processing sector,” he said.
Dafydd Jarrett, of NFU Cymru, added: “The continuation of an independent, transparent and consistent grading system, with an easy-to-access appeal process is important and NFU Cymru believes that what is now being put in place will enable this to happen.”