FQAS Membership Now Brings Cross-Compliance Benefits

UK - LMC is pleased to announce that it has recently been informed by the DARD Cross-Compliance officials that farmers who are approved participants in the Northern Ireland Beef & Lamb Farm Quality Assurance Scheme (FQAS) have been given a new positive low-risk weighting and, depending on their performance against other Cross-Compliance risk criteria, may now have a lower chance of being selected for a cross-compliance inspection compared with farmers who are not in FQAS, according to a Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) bulletin.
calendar icon 29 September 2008
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This positive low-risk weighting for FQAS members is the outcome of a risk assessment exercise conducted by the DARD officials that has shown that FQAS members have an extremely low risk of not meeting the cross-compliance requirements. The new arrangement does not mean that FQAS members will be excluded from cross-compliance inspections, but it does mean that they will have a reduced likelihood of inspection by the DARD Service Delivery Group (SDG).

Dr Mike Tempest, Technical Director of LMC, said “We are delighted with this news as we have been striving for some time to achieve recognition that the high standard of FQAS approved producers goes a considerable way towards meeting cross-compliance requirements. This new positive weighting is a big feather in the cap of dedicated FQAS producers. Together with the lower farm inspection frequency for assurance scheme members in relation to the new Food Hygiene Regulations (agreed between Assured Food Standards, the Red Tractor body to which FQAS belongs and Local Authorities in GB) which is recognised by the Food Standards Agency and DARD in Northern Ireland, this further reduction in the inspection burden will bring significant benefits for FQAS members. We now have to see if the same positive low-risk weighting for FQAS members can be included in the Cross-Compliance risk criteria used by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) (formally Environment & Heritage Service) and Veterinary Services (VS)”.

New 14-Character Eartag Numbers

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) wants to remind herd-keepers of important changes to the cattle ear-tag numbering scheme. From 30 September 2008 cattle ear-tags of less than 14 characters may no longer be used for new calves.

In September 2007,DARD announced that all ear-tags would be printed in 14-character format. EU legislation has always allowed any number of characters on cattle ear-tags, provided this does not exceed fourteen. However, for commercial reasons, some importers in other EU Member States insisted that ear-tags have 14 characters before they will accept cattle. In order to facilitate trade, since September 2007, DARD has issued all ear-tags numbers in 14-character format. A period of one year was allowed for existing stocks of ear-tags with less than 14 characters to be used up.

The industry is continuing to move towards Electronic Identification (EID) and those producers ordering electronic button tags should order them with the new 14-character format printed around the circumference of the tag.

Further Reading

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