Farm Ireland

Monday 26 February 2018

Bord Bia 'on track' for quality scheme launch

Declan O’Brien

Bord Bia has insisted that it remains on track to launch a new quality assurance scheme for the dairy industry but has refused to be tied to a starting date.

In a statement issued to the Farming Independent, Bord Bia confirmed that a number of trial audits were now taking place to test the scheme at farm level.

"The Technical Advisory Committee which is developing the (Quality Assurance) scheme, and representative of stakeholders within the sector, is continuing to make good progress with the development of the standard (scheme rules)," a Bord Bia statement said.

"A number of pilot audits are also taking place to test the scheme on farm, and a consultation process is commencing with co-op boards.

"A commencement date will be agreed following this consultation process," the statement added.

However, problems are understood to have arisen, particularly in relation to milk processors with suppliers in the North.

The question of how processors are to deal with farmers who fail a Bord Bia audit has also to be dealt with definitively.

Processors with milk suppliers in the North have argued that they will struggle to get dairy farmers in that jurisdiction to buy into a quality assurance scheme for which they will not directly benefit.

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They point out that since it will be impossible to split out milk from non-quality assured suppliers and have it processed separately, all of their milk pool will have to be quality assured.

This could have implications in terms of the milk price paid by the dairies, given that intense competition for milk in the North has seen 200m litres, or 10pc of their total milk pool, change processors over the last two years.

Irish Independent