The nation?s largest supermarket chain is in talks with the Country Land & Business Association (CLA) concerning its policy on the sale of game, which may result in the supermarket chain stocking only game from assured shoots. Tesco has been selling game in its stores for a number of years and meat must already meet required standards. Tesco initially approached Checkmate International (CMi), the organisation charged with assessing shoots for details of the assurance scheme, and was then put in touch with the CLA.

The CLA?s chief surveyor, Oliver Harwood, has been instrumental in putting the Shoot Assurance Scheme together. He told ST: ?We are at the beginning of the process at the moment. The ultimate aim would be for as many supermarkets as possible to source from assured shoots. There aren?t enough assured shoots to stock the retailers at present, but Tesco is very excited about the idea of having something it can rely upon. As with all produce that undergoes quality control measures, game retailers can have something to vouch for the quality of their produce.?

The Shoot Assurance Scheme is now coming to the end of its first quarter after its launch at this year?s CLA Game Fair. ?We have had a lot of interest in the scheme so far,? said Mr Harwood, ?but the number of people actually signing up has been slower than we hoped ? we are looking forward to a Christmas rush. Many people have said they?d love to join, but haven?t yet got round to writing the cheque. The final guidance for the assessors was finalised this week, so they are out now in the field carrying out inspections.?

A spokesman from Tesco confirmed that the company?s buyers were happily looking to stock game from assured shoots, adding: ?Next year we would like

to be selling assured game. If they are looking to supply the biggest retailers, it gives shoots enough time to be accredited by next year. It is natural for us to move in that direction as all our fresh meat is assured and it undergoes strict quality control.?

For more information on becoming an accredited shoot, contact CMi, tel (01993) 885610.