The Organic Trust has said it is “extremely disappointed” by comments made by Independent TD Michael Collins in the Dáil on Wednesday.
The west Cork TD alleged that Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett revealed “private information from the Organic Trust” about his farm in the Dáil.
“Mr Collins’ statement insinuates that an Organic Trust inspector had shared private information in relation to his previous organic farming activity,” a spokesperson for the Organic Trust told the Irish Farmers Journal.
“When in fact the information was already public knowledge, as stated by Mr Collins himself, at a sitting of the Dáil in June 2021. A video with this information remains available publicly,” they said.
Deputy Collins told a meeting of the Oireachtas committee on agriculture meeting in June 2021 that he “was an organic farmer up to last year ”.
“In the 20 years that I was an organic farmer, it was the nearest thing to the biggest farce that is out there at the present time,” he said at the time.
He added that it was difficult to find a market for organic cattle, which was “a shame”.
The Organic Trust has said that its inspectors are highly trained in the areas of confidentiality and impartiality.
“We have numerous internal and external controls in place, ensuring the safety of our members' information.
"Additionally, Organic Trust are heavily audited in the areas of confidentiality and impartiality on an annual basis, by both INAB [Irish National Accreditation Board] and the Department of Agriculture.
“The confidentiality of our members is paramount and would never be shared with any third party or public figures without their previous consent,” the spokesperson added.
The trust is “actively taking action to address” the matter and “to have these unsubstantiated statements withdrawn”.
Over the past year, the organisation said the organic sector and the Organic Trust has seen "unprecedented growth" and it is confident that another positive year lies ahead for the sector and its members.