It is going to take longer than May 1 to have a National Food Ombudsman (NFO) in place, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said.

The disclosure came during a question and answer session at the IFA AGM on Tuesday, where the minister highlighted that the EU’s Unfair Trading Practices (UTP) directive must be transposed by 1 May.

IFA president Tim Cullinan said that a food ombudsman cannot come quickly enough, and that the position must have teeth.

Minister McConalogue said: “The office of the NFO is going to require primary national legislation, so I'm going to bring it through the committee system, then the Dáil and finally through the Seanad.

“It's going to take longer than the first of May to do that.”

Deliver transparency

The Minister said the first step in establishing an NFO will be through the launch of a national consultation in the very near future.

“I want to engage with yourselves [IFA] and other stakeholders in relation to how we can best set up the office in a way that that delivers for farmers and delivers transparency,” Minister McConalogue continued.

“The new office will take over the role of administering the UTP directive, which must be transposed by 1 May.”

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