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Independent.ie

Wednesday 18 July 2018

Food Safety Authority calls for national food strategy

Pamela Byrne, FSAI, Fiona Muldoon, FBD Insurance, Darina Allen, Founder Ballymaloe Cookery School and Deirdre O'Shea, Executive Director Agri Aware and Ceres Network member attending the ‘Shaping the Vision for Ireland’s Agri-Food Industry 2030’ conference organised by Ceres.Picture: Pat Moore
Pamela Byrne, FSAI, Fiona Muldoon, FBD Insurance, Darina Allen, Founder Ballymaloe Cookery School and Deirdre O'Shea, Executive Director Agri Aware and Ceres Network member attending the ‘Shaping the Vision for Ireland’s Agri-Food Industry 2030’ conference organised by Ceres.Picture: Pat Moore
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Pamela Byrne, CEO of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), has called for the development of a 'National Food Strategy' with clearly defined roles and responsibilities as a matter of urgency.

Speaking at the Ceres conference on 'Shaping the Vision for Ireland’s Agri-Food Industry 2030’ in Dublin, she said that to ensure Ireland has a healthy society to support a growing economy, we need to have a coherent and integrated food strategy in place which promotes the widespread availability of safe, nutritious, and trustworthy food.

"To achieve this, Irish society and businesses need to work together to ensure that our culture of producing food is based on safety, integrity, authenticity and the provision of high quality nutrition. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland is committed to leading on the development of this culture through promoting partnerships and delivering the necessary innovations and insights”, she said.

The agri-food industry was urged not to be complacent when it comes to meeting the ongoing challenges for the sector and to consider the development of a 'National Food Strategy'.

Fiona Muldoon, CEO, FBD Insurance said that the sector is packed with ‘professional, able, smart individuals’ who need to rise to the challenges the industry is currently facing.

“Political and currency risks have increased immeasurably over the last 12 - 18 months. These fluctuations have already taken casualties and have placed pressure on all of the agri-food sectors. These challenges require honest and frank debate with all industry stakeholders and policy makers. In planning our roadmap to 2030, the challenge is that we must differentiate in a highly competitive and somewhat commoditised marketplace. We can do this by offering quality, value for money and sustainability as the basis of our global product offering and thus lay the foundations for our future growth,” she said.

In the same panel, Darina Allen outlined her vision for Ireland as an organic food island and stressed the need to prepare farmers in a post-glyphosphate era who have ‘forgotten how to farm without chemicals’. In response, Michael Hoey, MD of Country Crest said that a completely organic industry was ‘not practical’ but stressed that the industry could aspire to produce the cleanest, most efficient, most sustainable food in the world.

Monica Gorman, one of the founding members of the Ceres Network said agriculture in Ireland and globally is facing many challenges and within those challenges are opportunities and risks.

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"We were challenged this morning to be proactive and take responsibility for finding solutions. One thing we know is that no one person or organisation has all the answers and that realistically there are no easy solutions - or none that come without a cost.

"With this conference we wanted to create a space for diverse voices and people to discuss in an open way some of the challenges and opportunities and we would encourage people to now take responsibility for finding the answers to your questions and actively seek these kind of spaces to create new energies, new chemistries and innovative thinking.”


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