The Irish feed trade has welcomed the government Irish Food Board (Bord Bia) agency’s decision to formally recognise the main European feed quality assurance schemes – UFAS, GPM+ and QS – as fully meeting the requirements to supply feed to Bord Bia quality assured farms.

The Irish Grain and Feed Association (IGFA) says the move makes “solid commercial sense and will avoid unnecessary duplication and costs. Furthermore, the association of the Bord Bia Feed Assurance scheme with the main European feed standards will have a positive impact on exports of livestock products from Ireland”.

UFAS covers 700 feed compounders and over 95% of the compound feed sold in the UK and Ireland, while GMP+ is a Dutch based international feed assurance scheme and QS the main feed standard in the German market.

These schemes, accredited to the ISO17065 standard, have underpinned feed safety for many years in most EU countries and are mutually recognised to facilitate trade without the need for duplicated certification, notes IGFA. “It makes immense practical sense for the Irish feed assurance scheme to be fully integrated with this international system, as we are a major exporter of meat and dairy products.”

IGFA has also welcomed Bord Bia’s intention to publish the list of the international feed assurance schemes which it now formally recognises, so farmers can be fully informed and rely on the quality of the feed they are purchasing from assured feed compounders. However, it is “strongly of the view” that Bord Bia should also publish the list of all Irish feed compounders accredited either to the international quality schemes and/or those approved by Bord Bia.

“To some extent, Ireland was up to now not fully part of the international system, which made no sense for a major food exporting country,” concludes IGFA. “This formal recognition by Bord Bia should strengthen the international recognition of and reliance on the various Bord Bia farm assurance schemes.”