Irish quality assurance claims questioned due to lack of traceability on imported feed
The Irish Grain Growers Association (IGGA) has questioned the efficacy of quality assurance programmes in the beef and dairy sectors because of the lack of traceability on imported feed.
The IGGA claimed the absence of robust traceability protocols on all imported grain and feed risked undermining the massive investment Ireland has made in livestock-related quality assurance schemes such as Origin Green.
Ireland imports in excess of 1.5 million tonnes of feed each year to supplement the 2.2m tonnes of grain grown locally.
"How can we sell dairy and meat products as fully traceable when the feed that produces these products is not fully traceable," the IGGA asked.
The tillage growers group called for "proper testing" and traceability checks on all imported grains. In addition, it said all imported grain consignments should be tested for Sterile Brome, Blackgrass and noxious weeds.
However, Bord Bia pointed out farmers who are members of Bord Bia's sustainable beef and lamb assurance scheme, or sustainable dairy assurance scheme, are required to source feed from an approved supplier, which is either a DAFM licensed manufacturer or retailer, or a Bord Bia Feed QA scheme member.
"Traceability is a key factor throughout the auditing process, and members of our schemes have to adhere to all legal requirements," it stated.
Deirdre Webb from the Irish Grain and Feed Association said imports of cereal are "necessary" as the livestock industry consumes around 5.6 million tonnes of feed a year, with at most 1.6m/t available from Irish sources.