Ireland’s poultry sector has committed to lowering its emissions in a new roadmap for the sector published by Food Drink Ireland (FDI).
The poultry sustainability roadmap details how the poultry processing sector has delivered progress across a number of sustainability metrics over recent years, while playing an increasing role in meeting consumers’ needs for a healthy, balanced diet.
The sector has the lowest emissions intensity across the EU for poultry meat and enhanced manure storage systems at farm level, FDI said.
“In addition, litter spreading is focused on optimising the nutrient value and minimising emissions to protect the local environment.
“There is a strong focus on biosecurity and antibiotic usage is below the EU-UK average with ongoing reductions. Over 70% of plastic packaging now consists of recycled content with almost all paper and board forest stewardship certified,” it added.
In order to achieve its sustainability targets, the Irish poultry industry will continue to address a wide range of issues.
They include greenhouse gas emissions, educating consumers, manure utilisation, renewable energy generation, flock health and welfare, nature impact, decarbonising processing and the sector’s contribution to local communities.
“Ireland’s poultry sector will continue to deliver ongoing progress, but the sector needs to be prioritised at policy level. The sector also requires increased supply chain transparency, consistency of standards and increased efforts in advancing market access,” according to FDI director Paul Kelly.
The roadmap also states that a priority for the poultry sector will be to work with Bord Bia to further develop its carbon footprinting model to ensure it captures robust data, tracks individual performance against national averages and delivers a reporting mechanism that provides a uniform approach across the sector.
The roadmap says that the sector will work with feed suppliers to explore the potential to further develop a circular loop where poultry litter provides the organic nutrients for tillage crops, which in turn produce ingredients for poultry feed.
The sector will continue to invest in genetics to produce breeding stock that deliver highly efficient production of meat and eggs.
Furthermore, it is committed to working with stakeholders to agree relevant welfare indicators for each species and co-ordinate data tracking at national level, which, combined with biosecurity data, would provide a complete picture of national performance over time.
Poultry processors will engage with Meat Technology Ireland to embrace its work programme in relation to packaging and shelf life extension as part of efforts to minimise product and packaging waste.
“What is encouraging, in addition to enhancing its own systems to reach its sustainability targets, is its commitment to supporting local communities and contributing strongly to the development of the circular economy,” added Paul.