New Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme to be rolled out next year
Following months of negotiation, it appears farm organisations and Bord Bia have come to an agreement on the development of a new Beef and Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme.
According to a Bord Bia Spokesperson, the scheme is currently with Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB) and it expects to be rolling it out early in the new year.
The review of the scheme was address the key areas of concern to farmers on quality assurance, including farm audits, standards and compliance issues as well as a more farmer friendly approach.
Some of the changes understood to have been made to scheme include:
- introducing a new close out period, which will allow farmers to correct all compliance issues within a time frame, enabling them to remain and continue to trade in the scheme;
- ensuring that the target timeframe for farm audits will be 90 minutes;
- simplifying and consolidating the number of issues in the standard and the number of questions at audit;
- introducing a pre-audit questionnaire that will be sent to farmers a week before the audit so as to simplify the process and reduce audit time;
- removal of all reference to market requirements and specifications in the standard; and,
- removal of all reference to EID for sheep.
Currently, there are over 52,000 producers and 120 processors and packers certified members across all the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Schemes. They are inspected regularly before they can be certified and allowed use of the Quality Mark.