Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Questions (567)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

567. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to extend the food quality assurance scheme beyond the farm gate to include the food processing and packaging industries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9680/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Quality Assurance Schemes already extend beyond the farm gate as vertical industry integrated schemes have been developed by Bord Bia over a number of years. These Schemes operate in the beef, pigmeat, eggs, lamb, poultry products and horticulture sectors and currently include over 150 participating food processors and packers as well as over 40,000 farmers. The products are available in the major supermarkets and many retail outlets. The standards of the individual Schemes have been developed and refined over a number of years in consultation with scientists, academics and independent experts on issues such as food safety, animal health and welfare, care for the environment etc. Each Scheme is accredited to IS EN ISO 9001:2008 with the National Standards Authority of Ireland and to the European Standard EN45011. These measures underpin ongoing commitment to quality and sustainability as well as to the highest standards of traceability and food safety in the Irish food sector.