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Bord Bia's New Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme
18/04/2017 07:58:48

Bord Bia's New Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme
Source: Bord Bia
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Helpdesk and close-out period to assist farmers
Bord Bia today launched the new Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme (SBLAS) which sets out the agreed standards for the production and certification of Irish beef and lamb. The new scheme was designed in collaboration with the sector stakeholders to meet the demands of global food buyers for verifiable proof of Ireland`s sustainability claims. The scheme is accredited to the International Standard for Product Certification ISO 17065 by the Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB), who approved the scheme in recent days.

Bord Bia’s Chief Executive, Tara McCarthy thanked the Technical Advisory Committee that worked on the scheme over the past 18 months and highlighted the value of the new standard:

"The Irish food sector has proven yet again that its collaborative approach to meeting new challenges can deliver a scheme that is the envy of our competitors. The commitment of Irish beef and lamb farmers to meeting the standards of the new SBLAS will ensure its success. In turn, the introduction of a close-out period and a helpdesk facility will make the scheme more user-friendly while audit feedback will assist in delivering lower production costs at farm level. By incorporating sustainability into the new scheme we have simplified our message to international customers, giving us an edge on our competitors with a single, independently certified standard that covers the quality and sustainability of our beef and lamb. This scheme will be welcomed by food buyers who are seeking to, or already, responding to the demands of their consumers at retail and foodservice levels for sustainably produced quality food."

Highlights of the Scheme
The SBLAS will be introduced in the coming weeks and will replace the existing beef and lamb quality assurance schemes on a phased basis over the next 18 months.

Sustainability
The environmental, social and economic principles of sustainability are embedded in the requirements of the new scheme which also draws on the data provided on-farm in recent years to establish the carbon footprint of enterprises under the Origin Green programme.

Close-out period
The scheme provides for a close-out period during which farmers will have a month to rectify non-compliances at audit without losing their certification status.

Bord Bia Helpdesk
In an effort to make the scheme more user- friendly, Bord Bia will introduce a helpdesk facility to assist farmers prepare for audits and with close-out exercises.

Plant protection products
The new scheme will also incorporate standards for use of pesticides on-farm which is already a requirement of the EU Sustainable Use Directive and is aimed at ensuring responsible use of pesticides in the environment.

Benefits to farmers of the new scheme
For farmers, sustainable production enables efficient production as it involves minimising the amount of resources including energy, feed and water used by enterprises as well as implementing measures that enhance the environmental performance of their enterprises. These sustainability measures also typically deliver economic benefits through lower costs of production.

Industry Benefits
The scheme will benefit the marketing of meat in several ways including demonstrating the commitment of Irish beef and lamb farms to “green” farming practices. Beef and lamb sourced from sustainable farms will gain access to markets that demand certification and help create a preference for Irish beef and lamb among valuable customers with stated sustainability targets.

Full details of the scheme and FAQs can be found on www.bordbia.ie/schemes  
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