LMC Report: FQAS Reached Record Level In 2009

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - A new record high for the percentage of slaughtered domestic beef that is farm quality assured was reached in 2009.
calendar icon 5 March 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

92.4 per cent of Northern Ireland origin clean beef was FQAS. The previous highest level achieved was 91 per cent in 2004. The highest individual category was for steers where 94 per cent of those killed were farm quality assured, and even cull cows and bulls reached an acceptably high level of 70 per cent farm quality assured.

This record level has been achieved despite a three per cent fall in scheme membership in 2009. Seamus McMenamin, the FQAS Manager, says: “The fall in membership reflects the general contraction within the industry, but as the proportion of FQAS beef has increased it is perhaps indicative that some of those leaving the industry were not in FQAS.” He added “The big encouragement in the last year has been the 13 per cent increase in new applications to join the Scheme, and this augurs well for the future. No doubt the £30/head differential between FQAS and non- FQAS beef currently being implemented at the meat plants, recently reinforced in the new price specification, is a great encouragement for this”

The analysis of FQAS performance in 2009 also shows that the proportion of farms with no nonconformances raised at inspection has increased to 27 per cent. This is a marked increase from 17 per cent in the previous year. Furthermore the proportion of farms requiring re-inspection has fallen by 39 per cent indicating that the non-conformances that were noted were relatively minor ones. These were mainly associated with keeping records of common veterinary operations, medicine purchase and usage (this is also a legal requirement), feed ingredients and availability of the welfare codes. The only issue concerning production practice was that 16 per cent of farms inspected were not taking enough care to prevent sharp edges in buildings. This may be a reflection of maintenance suffering in the current situation of increased costs and lack of genuine profit over all costs. However these minor nonconformances are all remedied within a month of the inspection, and consequently all FQAS participants meet all of the requirements of the scheme.

“This substantial improvement in performance on farms is a credit to FQAS members, and I congratulate them on it” said Mr McMenamin. “Members should note that performance on the administration side is also meeting targets with the average surveillance inspection interval at 16.7 months against a target of 18 months and 11 per cent of members receiving a spot-check against a target of 10 per cent.”

Figure 1. FQAS Beef, 1992-2009 (percentage of NI domestic clean kill)

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

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