Battle looms as FCI start date set
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.