British Meat is set to extend its Quality Standard Mark for pork, bacon and ham to include sausages. The move, which starts on Monday (October 29) to coincide with British Sausage Appreciation Week, is being introduced to bolster consumer confidence in sausages. It also comes against a background of recent scares which have included outbreaks of swine fever and the ongoing foot and mouth crisis. Celia Bennett, director of the British Meat Manufacturers' Association, which has some 70 member companies, said the idea was to get as many manufacturers as possible on board in an effort to support Britain's retail sausage market sector. However, she insisted the move was not needed to halt any decline in sales as the sector had reported an impressive upturn during the last year. Figures compiled by the Meat and Livestock Commission show how the sausage market, which includes fresh, frozen and loose sausages, grew by 3% during the last 12 months and is now worth £431m. The major multiples recorded the steepest rise, at 4.7%, while sales of premium sausages grew by 7%, indicating that consumers have traded up to better quality products. The mark will also cover pork plus' sausages such as those which include leeks or other vegetables. Bennett said the mark would ensure that manufacturers adhered to even more stringent standards than those laid down by current legislation. "We want to enhance the industry's image," she added. "The mark has already been a success on other pork products and consumers recognise and trust it." Lazenby's is set to be the first manufacturer to introduce the mark. Bennett hopes all of her Association's sausage-making members will have signed up to the mark by next summer. The independent European Food Safety Inspection Service (EFSIS) will police the mark. {{NEWS }}