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LMC Report: New FQAS Documentation

14 May 2010

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - Participants in the Northern Ireland Beef & Lamb Farm Quality Assurance Scheme (FQAS) will be receiving through the post in the next few days a pack of new documentation pertaining to the scheme.

The centre piece of this mailing is an updated version of the FQAS Product Standard (April 2010 edition), the individual codes with which participants must demonstrate conformance, in order to become certified approved producers. The existing scheme standard has been in effect for the last seven years and as there have been various changes to legislation, codes of practice, market requirements and industry needs during this time, it was agreed by the Scheme Standard Setting Committee that an amended modernised standard should be produced and implemented to underpin the FQAS beef and lamb position in the marketplace.

The main changes that will be evident to producers in the new Product Standard will be the layout and wording. The 2010 edition has been developed in cooperation with most of the other UK beef and lamb farm quality assurance schemes recognised as equivalent to the Red Tractor Scheme (operated by Assured Food Standards) and eligible to carry the Red Tractor Logo. Collectively these schemes have agreed to follow a common form of wording in their respective standards, allowing for regional variations in implementation (for example in Northern Ireland participants notify births, deaths and movements of cattle to APHIS whereas in GB the central database is BCMS).

NI FQAS has also responded (in the 2010 edition) to wider industry concerns about the dioxin incident at the end of 2008 by discontinuing the permitted use of warranty declarations for the purchase of animal feed materials from non-assured merchants; has introduced a requirement where any home grown or farm purchased feed grain which goes through a drying process must come from an assured source; and has introduced a requirement for all participants to sign a declaration that all externally sourced feedstuffs are recorded in totality in their feed to sign a declaration that all externally sourced feedstuffs are recorded in totality in their feed records. All amendments to the FQAS requirements which have been made are clearly highlighted and explained in the April 2010 Product Standard booklet and accompanying Spring 2010 FQAS Newsletter and participants should familiarise themselves with these in advance of their next FQAS farm inspection. From 1 June 2010, inspections will be to the requirements of the 2010 Product Standard.

It is worth re-emphasising the importance of FQAS participation in gaining access to premium GB markets for beef and sheep meat, especially under the auspice of the Red Tractor Scheme highlighted above. The Red Tractor Logo (which at the end of 2009 featured on product with a UK annual retail sales value of over £10 billion) is licensed for use by processor members of FQAS by Assured Food Standards and is in increasing demand from retailers, food companies and food service businesses across the UK.

The value of this market is clearly well understood by FQAS participants as in the last full calendar year (2009) a record 92 per cent of the Northern Ireland produced domestic clean cattle kill was Farm Quality Assured. Participants have to be congratulated for their efforts in such an achievement and should look to continue building upon this success in 2010.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

TheCattleSite News Desk


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