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Stackyard News Aug 06

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    NBA asks Bord Bia for clarification on beef exports to UK

The National Beef Association has written to the Irish Food Board, Bord Bia, asking for clarification on issues that suggest beef imported from the Republic of Ireland can fall short of farm assurance standards adopted across the UK where the EN45011 accredited Assured British Meat (ABM) standard covers all cattle providing beef used by the major retailers such as Tesco , Sainsbury and Asda .
NBA chief executive, Robert Forster
NBA chief executive, Robert Forster

“We said we were aware that the Bord Bia administered, EN45011 accredited, Beef Quality Assurance Scheme (BQAS) is expected to cover all cattle from which beef is taken to export to Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda in the UK as well as Albert Heijn and other retailers on the European mainland,” explained NBA chief executive, Robert Forster .

“However our understanding is that the volume of beef required by retailers demanding BQAS accreditation is significantly more than BQAS is currently capable of delivering so we have asked Bord Bia if it can provide answers to the following questions.”

* Exactly how many producers are fully registered with BQAS?

* Exactly how many of these are up to date with their inspections?

* What proportion of ROI beef producers does the latter represent?

* What proportion of ROI beef production is therefore EN450011 accredited through BQAS?

* And what proportion of exports to the UK are BQAS assured?

“We have also asked Bord Bia if it could provide clarification about the inspections, and re-inspections gap that is said to have appeared since EFSIS parted company with BQAS earlier this year because its replacement, South West Services (SWS) of Cork , could not immediately get to grips with its inspections and accreditation brief,” said Mr Forster.

“There are contradictory reports about whether EFSIS is, or is not, continuing to inspect BQAS farms on behalf of Bord Bia , and it would be helpful if an authoritative indication of which of these is correct could be given.”

“This information will help to establish whether or not new inspections, and re-inspections, necessary to either increase, or maintain, the number of approved BQAS farms in the ROI were able to be conducted in the volume required to secure delivery of BQAS approved beef to UK supermarkets.”

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National Beef Association