Importers of Irish Beef should avoid double standards on farm assurance

UK - Importers of the 250,000 tonnes of beef from the Republic of Ireland (ROI) which enters the UK each year are going to have to select their purchases extremely carefully if they are to avoid retailing product that falls below domestic farm assurance standards and being unfair to British beef farmers.
calendar icon 23 January 2007
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So says the National Beef Association which can not only confirm that South West Services, the farm inspection body contracted by the ROI authorities, is not EN45004 accredited as is demanded of inspection companies in the UK.

But can also report that it continues to have difficulty believing that Bord Bia, which runs the Beef Quality Assurance Scheme (BQAS), is correct to claim that all beef entering the UK is farm assured.

“Sainsburys, Asda and Tesco import beef from the ROI, as do a number of other retailers. Each of them insists that they will not give home produced product shelf space unless it is farm assured and they have also agreed that beef entering the UK must meet domestic farm assurance standards,” explained NBA chief executive, Robert Forster.

“However Bord Bia has confirmed that it has subcontracted farm inspection for BQAS to South West Services (SWS) even though this company would not be allowed to operate as an inspector in the UK because it has not acquired EN45004 accreditation.”

“This means that if importers of beef from the ROI are to avoid the accusation of operating double standards they must avoid beef produced by the 7,500 farms inspected by SWS since it began its work in September 2006 and concentrate on beef from the 5,000 farms that were inspected by EFSIS, which was EN45004 accredited, before its contract with Bord Bia ended last autumn.”

Source: Stackyard

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