Minister launches food safety strategy
Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed believes that it will help to safeguard public health.

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has launched a three-year food safety and food authenticity strategy, which aims to help guarantee food safety as the agri-food sector grows.

“Our future plans for food safety and food authenticity are ambitious, but we should not fear the breadth of our ambition as we dedicate our resources to improvement,” Minister Creed stated.

The Department will be working closely with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) to deliver the strategy.

“This is an important initiative that sets out a clear strategy to further consumer health within an ever-changing global food supply system,” Dr Pamela Byrne of the FSAI said.

“Assuring authenticity, monitoring the food chain, detecting fraudulent and deceptive practices and continually developing the best food safety systems, aligned to new and emerging food safety legislation, is embedded in our organisation's DNA,” she added.

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Tractor run and BBQ raises €12,000 for charity
The FCI has raised a substantial sum of money for six charities from their annual tractor run and BBQ.

Up to €12,000 was raised by the Association of Farm Contractors in Ireland (FCI) through its annual charity BBQ and auction held on 15 July in Co Meath.

Contractor brothers Patrick, Peter and Michael Farrelly hosted the event, which also included the Mickey Farrelly Tractor Run in memory of their late father.

To date, the FCI annual charity BBQ and auctions have raised over €115,000

The event saw a strong attendance and was supported by a large number of food suppliers.

“We are indebted to all of the generous food suppliers who supported us in staging the 2018 FCI charity BBQ. We also thank the contributions from the huge attendance, which have provided us with the opportunity to support so many worthwhile charities," said FCI general secretary Peter Farrelly.

“To date, the FCI annual charity BBQ and auctions have raised over €115,000 for many local and national charities,” he said.

The six charities that received money included:

  • Meath Palliative Care (€3,500)
  • Save our Sons & Daughters (SOSAD) (€2,000)
  • Support Organisation for Trisomy (SOFT) (€2,000)
  • Order of Malta, Kells (€1,000)
  • Order of Malta, Swords (€1,500)
  • Carnaross Community First Responders (€2,000)
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    TB compensation – concern over ‘subtle pressure’ on valuers
    The ICSA has stated that higher rates should be paid for higher-calibre cattle.

    Valuers who determine TB compensation rates should be given free rein to do their jobs without interruption from the Department of Agriculture, according to the ICSA.

    “When it comes to breeding stock, or animals with show potential, there has to be flexibility in the system to allow valuers to give an honest and true assessment of what an animal is worth.

    "In these cases, average price ranges from thousands of animals sold in marts each week is meaningless,” ICSA animal health and welfare chair Hugh Farrell said.

    Too much subtle pressure is being put on valuers

    Currently, a ceiling of €3,000 is applied for payments in respect of any individual bovine reactor animals.

    Exceptions are made for a €4,000 payment for one stock bull per breakdown or €5,000 for one pedigree stock bull.

    “[The] ICSA is concerned that too much subtle pressure is being put on valuers to avoid giving the real value of a high-calibre cow or heifer.

    While the farmer can appeal the valuation, so too can the Department

    “As it stands, the odds are stacked against a farmer who has TB reactors. While the farmer can appeal the valuation, so too can the Department.

    “Unless there is a strong body of evidence that a valuer is continuously getting it wrong, the Department should accept that, at times, there will be stock that are much more valuable than any paper exercise in average values.”

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    New beef group to be launched
    An 86-point plan to try to turn around the current issues within the beef industry is to be launched on Monday night.

    The Irish Farmers Journal understands a launch meeting will take place tonight in Co Meath of a newly formed group of beef farmers who have come together because of deep concerns over where the beef industry is going and the lack of profit for the primary producer.

    The Irish Farmers Journal has seen the launch document, which includes an 86-point plan to try to turn around the current issues within the beef industry.

    Number of phases

    The plan outlines a number of phases, which include several references to producer groups and outlines an aim to have “50% of the country’s beef cattle sold through producer groups in the next three years”.

    Under phase one, the group proposes to hand in a number of demands to factories and give them time to respond.

    If the response isn’t adequate, the group proposes “not to send any cattle to a factory under a set price” and “not to send cattle to a particular factory at short notice”.

    Bonus

    The group has also proposed a suckler-bred bonus to reflect the higher costs of suckler beef production.

    The Irish Farmers Journal understands that over 1,000 farmers have engaged with the group so far and the target for the group is to grow participant numbers very fast to add further strength to its calls to action.

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