New quality assurance scheme for beef and sheep farmers launched
A new scheme to replace the Quality Assurance Scheme has been launched by Bord Bia.
The Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme will be introduced in the coming weeks and will replace the existing beef and lamb quality assurance schemes on a phased basis over the next 18 months.
It replaces the Quality Assurance Scheme, which came in for severe criticism from farmers and farming organisations in recent time.
To partake in the scheme farmers are subject to a 90-minuted audit and according to Bord Bia changes have been made in response to new legislation, customer requirements and an effort to make the scheme more farmer friendly.
New aspects of the scheme include a new section on pesticides included as a result of the introduction of the Sustainable Use Directive; the inclusion of sustainability criteria in the standard; and the introduction of a close-out model whereby if issues are identified during an audit, the farmer will have an opportunity correct these in the month following the audit and receive/retain certification.
One month to get things right
The news ‘close-out period’ in the scheme will allow farmers address any issues raised during the audit.
According to Bord Bia, there are a number of ways that farmers can do this.