MSP seeks assurances over Young's produce –

MSP seeks assurances over Young’s produce Published:  09 March, 2007

SEAFOOD products which are harvested in Scottish waters but processed overseas should not be allowed to be sold as “Scottish”, an MSP has said.

South of Scotland MSP Alasdair Morgan yesterday quizzed Fisheries Minister Ross Finnie regarding the markings which would be applied to any of Young’s seafood products which are processed in Thailand, instead of Annan in Scotland and, specifically, asked the Executive to ensure it cannot be labelled as Scottish produce.

Commenting, Mr Morgan said: “I think it is only fair that a product which is not produced and processed in Scotland should not be eligible to be called a Scottish product. That should apply to any of Young’s seafood if they are processed furth of Scotland, even though caught in Scottish waters.

“I was pleased that Ross Finnie acknowledged that this issue is an important one. If people do not wish to support a method of production that transports its product halfway round the world for processing, putting Scottish workers out of a job as a consequence, they need to know not only where the product was caught but where it was processed too.

“I would have been happier had I received a clear commitment from the Minister that no firm would be allowed under any circumstances to sell produce processed in Thailand as ‘Scottish’. There are plenty of producers who take pride in local sourcing and employment in this country and who should quite rightly benefit from Scotland as a brand.

“Under the present circumstances, these products should not be included in this category.”

Last November, Young’s announced controversial plans to switch some langoustine processing activities from Scotland to Thailand. The decision to move its de-shelling operation to the Far East has been fiercely criticised by ‘green’ groups, such as Friends of the Earth, which claims the plan is environmentally unfriendly and significantly adding to the food miles problem.