Simply Beef and Lamb

Quality Standard Mark

The Quality Standard Mark for beef and lamb is a scheme that provides you with high levels of assurance about the meat you buy.

The Quality Standard for beef and lamb is the only scheme in the UK to cover eating quality. All beef and lamb carrying the Mark is chosen according to a strict selection process to ensure it is succulent and tender. Quality Standard beef and lamb is produced to higher standards than required by law with a supply chain which is fully assured and independently inspected at every stage from farm to meat counter.

The Quality Standard Mark also tells you where your beef and lamb is from. For example meat from an animal born, raised and slaughtered in England will carry the Quality Standard beef or Quality Standard lamb Mark indicating English origin with the St George's flag. If an animal cannot meet all the criteria, for example it is born in Scotland or Wales, it will be able to carry the Quality Standard Mark but indicate British origin with the Union flag.

Your questions answered

Q Why has the new Quality Standard scheme been introduced?

The Quality Standard scheme has been introduced to help you identify good quality meat at point of purchase. By introducing the scheme, with its easily identifiable logo, we hope to provide you with a product that assures you about its eating quality and provenance. more questions

Q What is the main benefit of the scheme?

The easily identifiable Quality Standard logo is designed to maximise your confidence about the meat you are buying, safe in the knowledge that all meat carrying the Quality Standard meets stringent quality assurance criteria and is fully traceable. more questions

Q What criteria must the meat meet in order to be able to carry the Mark?

Apart from adhering to the criteria established by the Quality Standard scheme to ensure the eating quality of the meat, the supply chain delivering Quality Standard beef and lamb must also be fully assured and independently audited from farm to meat counter.

Quality Standard beef and lamb is produced to higher standards than required by law. more questions

Q What does the Mark mean by "quality"?

In terms of the non-eating quality of the Mark, "quality" reflects the fully assured and independently inspected supply chain, and the fact that Quality Standard beef and lamb are produced to higher standards than required by law.

"Quality" also refers to the eating quality of Quality Standard beef and lamb whereby certain criteria have been included in the scheme to ensure the meat is succulent and tender, for instance excluding older animals from the supply chain. more questions

Q Do other marks offer me the same assurances about eating quality?

No, the scheme is the only one in the UK to include criteria to improve the eating quality of beef and lamb. Measures such as setting age restrictions of animals entering the supply chain are designed to avoid the resulting meat being tough or dry. more questions

Q Where will I be able to find / buy meat carrying the Mark?

In most supermarkets and independent butchers who source their meat from a Quality Standard supplier. To date most of the country's leading supermarkets have signed up to join the scheme. more questions

Q How will I be able to identify QS beef and lamb in butchers?

The best way of identifying Quality Standard beef and lamb in your local butchers is to ask your butcher. Many butchers will also have Quality Standard posters and leaflets in their shop which will let you know they are a supplier. more questions

Q What measures are employed in the QS supply chain to ensure a greater consistency of tenderness and succulence?

The primary measures adopted to ensure the tenderness and succulence of the meat are as follows:

  • Restricting older animals from scheme
  • Restricting animals (male and female) from the supply chain who have previously been used for breeding purposes
  • Requirements set for maturation

Recent independent research shows that these are the main influencers on maintaining beef and lamb's succulence and tenderness. more questions

Q What measures are the same as other meat marks?

An adherence to a fully assured and independently inspected supply chain. more questions

Q Can organic beef and lamb carry the new Quality Standard logo?

Yes it can. more questions

Q Where does meat carrying the Quality Standard Mark come from?

Meat from an animal born, raised and slaughtered in England is eligible to carry the Quality Standard beef or Quality Standard lamb Mark indicating English origin with the St George's Flag. If an animal cannot meet all the criteria, for example it is born in Scotland or Wales, it can carry the Quality Standard Mark but indicate British origin with the Union flag. more questions

Q Will buying meat carrying the QS help our farmers?

Yes, anything that is likely to increase demand for their produce will always help farmers. more questions