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QA exclusion 'blocking' beef sales

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Cattle peer between the bars of fence

Cattle peer between the bars of fence

Cattle peer between the bars of fence

Beef farmers who fail an inspection for the Bord Bia quality assurance (QA) scheme claim they are being effectively blocked from disposing of cattle.

Under the current rules a beef producer who loses accreditation under the Bord Bia scheme, even for a very minor issue of compliance, is excluded for a minimum six months.

Farmers argue that exclusion from the scheme means cattle from affected herds are essentially barred from the market as factories do not want non-QA stock.

Farmers have complained about delays in processing applications for re-accreditation under the Bord Bia scheme. They have also taken issue with some of the reasons given by inspectors for failing farmers.

One producer told the Farming Independent that he failed an inspection because information in his record book was not on the correct page.

"All of the information was there, but he maintained it was not in the correct place.

"I was officially notified that I could not get accredited again for six months - the problem could be solved in a few minutes - but I am locked out from selling cattle to a factory, because the factories only want QA animals," he said.

"This is not good enough and has to be changed. It's another example of compliance gone mad," he said.

"If a dairy farmer in the scheme has the same problem, he gets a yellow card, but he won't be prevented from supplying milk for six months.

"We can't have one rule for dairy men and another for beef producers.

"They must be treated the same," he added.

The IFA has agreed to raise the matter with Bord Bia.

In a statement, Bord Bia said: "It is standard practice to be out for six months, however if an appeal is made which justifies an audit sooner Bord Bia will consider this."

Indo Farming