Farm Ireland

Friday 27 April 2018

Battle looms as FCI start date set

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

THE Department of Agriculture and the farm organisations are on a collision course over the new Food Chain Information (FCI) requirement.

Implementation of the FCI directive has been deferred since the start of the year but the Department has confirmed that a date for its introduction will be set by the end of April.

The need for FCI has been totally rejected by the IFA, who described it as the latest layer of EU bureaucracy to be imposed on farmers.

Draft FCI forms, which the Department believe will meet the requirements of the regulation, have been under discussion with industry stakeholders. The deferral of the regulation's implementation was agreed in order to afford an opportunity for those involved in the talks to present an acceptable alternative format.

However, if it is not possible to agree an alternative approach, the Department intends publishing the existing FCI document on its website, and advising farmers that this form will be regarded as acceptable to accompany animals for slaughter.


The Department has confirmed that slaughterhouse operators have been informed that they cannot accept animals onto their premises unless they have requested, and been provided with, relevant food safety information from the farm of origin.

A proposal to include data for the FCI on the current sheep movement document is being considered by the Department.

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If successful, the move could reduce much of the expected paperwork associated with the certification requirement.

The challenge now for the Department and farm bodies is to work out a similar accommodation for the cattle sector.

FCI is mandatory across the EU. The information on the FCI form must outline:

  • The status of the holding of origin or the regional animal health status;
  • The animal's health status;
  • Veterinary medicinal products or other treatments administered to the animals within a relevant period, together with their dates of administration and withdrawal periods;
  • The occurrence of diseases that may affect the safety of meat;
  • The results of any analysis carried out on samples taken from the animals or other samples taken to diagnose diseases that may affect the safety of meat;
  • Relevant reports about previous ante- and post-mortem inspections of animals from the same holding;
  • Production data, when this might indicate the presence of disease;
  • The name and address of the private veterinarian normally attending the holding.

FCI requirements were extended to all animals entering the food chain after initially being introduced specifically for the horse industry.

Horses treated with certain medicines are prohibited from entering the food chain and FCI was adopted by the EU to police this regulation.

Irish Independent