New Venison Park Quality Assurance Scheme Launches

24 September, 2014

The British Deer Farms and Parks Association (BDFPA) have launched an innovative new quality assurance scheme which aims to encourage best practice for the Park industry while also increasing confidence with retailers and consumers.

Developed in conjunction with Acoura's farming division, SFQC and leading UK Parks, the recently launched scheme covers various aspects of deer management and carcass handling.

With over a year of development behind it, the BDFPA are confident that the scheme will prove to be practical to implement and give members an affordable way to build trust with buyers and open up their venison to a wider market.

Jonathan Whitehead, SFQC’s technical advisor was heavily involved in the development of the standards and said of the scheme; “Public demand for venison is at an all-time high, with recent data released from market analysts Kantar Worldpanel showing that venison sales have rocketed by 413 percent year-on-year - from £1.2million in 2013 to £6.4million last month. While suppliers in the UK are trying to meet demand, retailers are also under more pressure than ever before to ensure the meat they buy is of the highest possible quality.

“This scheme aims to encourage best practice with Deer Park Owners and Managers – enabling them to improve standards and get the most from their herds while also satisfying retailer concerns. Similar assurance schemes for traditional livestock have resulted in both improved welfare of the animals as well as the price owners get from their stock. Hopefully this scheme has similar benefits.”

With over 250 members from across the UK, the BDFPA are hoping to see a strong early uptake with their existing customers, but also have plans to promote the scheme to a wider audience over the coming months.

Nigel Sampson, BDFPA President has said that;

“I see the development of quality assurance for park deer as a vital step in encouraging parks to improve the management and health of their deer, as well as reducing winter mortality in hard winters.

“I also believe that eventually quality assurance can help parks to gain access to new markets for their venison. All the multiple retailers report rapidly growing demand for this delicious lean meat. Every year Britain imports around 30,000 venison carcases from New Zealand and European Deer Farms. Park venison could help to reduce the dependence on imported products while also helping to grow a British industry.”

He went on;“There is much more park venison than farmed venison produced in England and park venison is one of the few meats that can be humanely produced without recourse to an abattoir. It is grass fed and locally produced and we need to sing its praises more loudly. We will be holding several Open Days to give Park Owners the chance to fully understand the scheme.”

For more information about the BDFPA Park Venison Assurance scheme please contact ClaireJonathan Whitehead on 0131 335 6600 or email jonathan.whitehead@sfqc.co.uk

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