Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assurance Scheme 2022 launched
The Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assurance Scheme (FQAS) Standard and Rules for 2022 has been officially launched which, according to the Livestock and Meat Commission for Northern Ireland (LMC) will give stakeholders an opportunity to feed into the process of reviewing standards.
Members of the Northern Ireland Beef and Lamb Farm Quality Assurance Scheme (NIBL FQAS) have been informed of the launch and the revised standards will take effect from 1st November 2022.
The formal review process for the scheme which began last Autumn saw the LMC, under the guidance of the FQAS Standard Setting Committee, complete a “root and branch review” of the scheme.
The LMC said this “comprehensive”, routine review takes place every three years with the Committee and works to “ensure that FQAS continues to develop to meet the needs of the industry and the marketplace it supplies.”
The FQAS Standard Setting Committee comprises various stakeholders including:
- Ulster Farmers Union (UFU)
- Northern Ireland Meat Exporters’ Association (NIMEA)
- Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA)
- National Sheep Association (NSA)
- National Beef Association (NBA)
- Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association (NIAPA).
LMC FQAS manager Gillian Davis said that the new standard sets out enhancements to eight main areas: husbandry and welfare, animal health, animal nutrition, animal traceability, housing and handling, transport, environmental care, and farm procedures.
She commented: “These important and timely revisions will help provide further assurance to customers [abattoirs, wholesalers, retailers and consumers] that beef and lamb sourced from farm quality assured producers continues to be produced to the highest standards.”
She added that “Improved guidance around feeding space allowance and updated standards on tethered housing systems is built into the reviewed standards.”