ICOS calls for all milk on island to be called 'Irish'
ICOS has called for all milk on the island of Ireland to be deemed 'Irish' - in light of Brexit and amid the possibility that milk from Northern Ireland would be labelled as 'non-EU'.
The call flies in the face of the National Dairy Council's policy of only allowing milk that is farmed and processed in the Republic of Ireland to carry its logo.
The National Dairy Council has resisted calls from some processors in recent years to allow milk that is farmed in the Republic and processed in Northern Ireland to carry the NDC logo.
However, now ICOS CEO TJ Flanagan has said that Ireland must include Northern Irish milk, or milk farmed in the Republic of Ireland and processed in Northern Ireland as 'Irish' milk.
Around 800m litres of Northern Irish milk travels into the Republic for processing on an annual basis and makes up 15pc of the Irish processing pool.
TJ Flanagan said there must be a technical solution where such milk is not kept out of the pool. "We have to have a very open discussion about it."
“One of the solutions ICOS proposed (to the European Commission) was for the recognition of “Irish milk” as coming from the island of Ireland. Ideally this will allow for the continued trade of milk across the border, without being hindered by burdensome customs, SPS (Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures) and labelling regulations."
He said the proposal was considered by the Commission with interest, although any agreement made on customs controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic must be agreeable to the other 26 EU Member States.