July 28, 2006
UK producers question safety of Irish beef
Beef imported into the United Kingdom from the Republic of Ireland may not be farm-assured, according to the British National Beef Association (NBA).
The NBA said that the farm assurance process in Ireland is being excessively burdened and thus imported beef cannot be guaranteed to meet the assurance standards that UK supermarkets require.
Ireland's Beef Quality Assurance Scheme (BQAS) has been, and remains incapable of meeting the EN45011 standard-farm assurance cover required of all deliveries into the UK, NBA chief executive Robert Forster said.
30 percent of Irish exports goes to the UK.
BQAS was established in 2005 and only 5,000 beef farms were inspected and accredited over the first year of operation, well short of the 40,000 intended target, British National Beef Association (NBA)'s Robert Forster said.
Furthermore, Ireland's inspection and accreditation process is currently suspended as the company which ran the inspection service left earlier this year and the replacement company is yet to be ready.
As many farms have not been inspected, there are no guarantees that standards have been maintained.
Forster also emphasised that the safety of the Irish beef sold in Asda and Sainsbury, two companies importing Irish beef could not be assured.