Farm Ireland

Thursday 22 March 2018

Bord Bia has no role in policing products that are being “chopped up and marketed” as Irish

Tara McCarthy is leading the drive to expand non-EU markets for Irish food produce. Photo: Alan Rowlette
Tara McCarthy is leading the drive to expand non-EU markets for Irish food produce. Photo: Alan Rowlette

Claire Fox

Bord Bia has no role in policing products that are being “chopped up and marketed” as Irish, the organisation has said.

Bord Bia’s CEO Tara McCarthy and Bord Bia Director of Quality Assurance Michael Maloney appeared before the Joint Committee on Agriculture today to address the roles the organisation is playing to address key Irish and global food issues.

Senator Tim Lombard of the committee questioned Bord Bia on the growing concern in the farming community that products that are not produced in Ireland are being “chopped up and marketed” as Irish.

“Is there anything we can do to stop products like poultry that are being produced in places like France but are being chopped up and marketed as Irish. Is the knowledge there that it’s not an Irish product?” he asked.

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice also questioned what the organisation intended to do about products that were being wrongly stamped with an Irish label.

“Farmer organisations in different parts of the country brought to our attention that even though meat may be stamped as Irish it wasn’t Irish at all. What do you intend to do to curtail that problem?”

Addressing these concerns, Mr Maloney said Bord Bia has no role in policing such products and advised that the majority of  consumers are educated when it comes to identifying the Bord Bia Quality Mark.

“In relation to meat stamped as Irish, if meat is being misrepresented in the market place that’s an issue for other bodies other than Bord Bia. We don’t have the responsibility of policing how it is portrayed in the market place,” he said.

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“We can speak for 95pc of Irish products that are under the Bord Bia Quality Mark and that means its 100pc born, reared and slaughtered in Ireland. The consumer awareness is extremely high and the message is getting across.”

Bord Bia also told the committee that it would be launching a sustainable poultry scheme in summer 2018 which would be phased in as part of the Quality Assurance Scheme.

In terms of addressing climate change and sustainability issues, Mc McCarthy said that more than 170,000 audits of farms  under the Quality Assurance Scheme, while it is ambitious in meeting its FoodWise 2025 targets which incorporate both the climate change and sustainability agenda.

“To date over 170,000 carbon footprint assessments have been completed.  Feedback reports to farmers highlight where improvements can be made.  All of Bord Bia’s Sustainability Assurance Schemes are independently accredited to the European Standard for Product Certification,” she said.

“The Carbon Footprint models have been developed in partnership with Teagasc and are also independently accredited by the Carbon Trust to the PAS 2050 Standard.  Over 36,000 audits are conducted annually.”

“The FoodWise 2025 strategy of the DAFM, while setting ambitious targets for the growth of the agrifood sector, acknowledges the importance of balancing production with environmental management and protection and identifies over 70 actions to achieve agricultural sustainability. 

“Collaboration and co-operation from all stakeholders in the industry will be required to achieve this ambition.

In relation to Brexit, Ms McCarthy added that market diversification would be key, with Japan offering market opportunities for Irish cheddar, 50pc of which is currently exported to the UK.

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