The Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme will be introduced in the coming weeks and will replace the existing beef and lamb quality assurance schemes on a phased basis over the next 18 months.
Applications to join the SBLAS can be made over the phone by contacting the Bord Bia service office on 062 54900.
On average, a Bord Bia Beef and Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme (BLQAS) audit takes about 90 minutes. With the introduction of the SBLAS, it is still envisaged that the audit length will remain the same. The audit length can be influenced by how well a farm is prepared for the audit.
There are a number of differences between the schemes most of which have been introduced in response to new legislation, customer requirements and an effort to make the scheme more farmer friendly. These include the following:
Yes, if you were certified when the audit was conducted on your farm then that certification will remain in place throughout the one month close-out period.
There are a number of ways that farmers can do this:
Where the close-out deadline is not met the farm is automatically not eligible for certification. Any existing certification will be withdrawn and re certification can only be achieved by applying to Bord Bia for a new audit after a six month period.
With the launch of the SBLAS, Bord Bia will for the first time formally introduce a Helpdesk facility. This Bord Bia Helpdesk will be there to answer any farmer queries in relation to any aspect of the audit or the audit process.
Yes, one of the key functions of the helpdesk will to be maintain contact with farmers that have issues to address after their audit. The Helpdesk will provide advice and guidance to farmers that require assistance
Once your closing meeting has been completed with the auditor, the inspection details go through some further steps before final decision. These are as follows:
However if non-compliances are identified during the audit, the farmer will have a month to address the issues before the audit file goes through the review process outlined above.
Producers receive an 18 month certification period. The length of certification may be shortened at the discretion of Bord Bia. Bord Bia also conduct a small number of spot audits on scheme members.
Photographic evidence will only be taken with the explicit permission of the farmer in advance, and as a means of sorting problems without the need for another farm visit.
A good quality assurance scheme will incorporate more than just legal requirements and good farming practices. It will look at other areas that are intrinsically linked to the running of a farm. Management of the environment and pollution control are obvious examples. Health and safety checks also fall into this category as this is an area that can directly impact on the farmer, their family and employees/contractors and can ultimately impact on how a farm is managed.
This is completely untrue. Auditors receive the same fee, regardless of outcome.
The residency requirement for cattle to be deemed Quality Assured is that the animal must have spent the last 70 days (unbroken) in the Quality Assured Chain. What this means is that an animal could have spent 30 days on one Quality Assured farm, then moved to another Quality Assured Farm and spent a further 40 days on that farm. The animal is therefore deemed Quality Assured.
The residency requirement for sheep to be deemed Quality Assured is that the animal must have spent the last 42 days (unbroken) in the Quality Assured Chain. What this means is that an animal could have spent 30 days on one Quality Assured farm, then moved to another Quality Assured Farm and spent a further 40 days on that farm. The animal is therefore deemed Quality Assured.
Bord Bia place NO RESTRICTIONS on the number of movements a bovine has had, for it to be deemed Quality Assured. Any movement restrictions applied are solely at the discretion of the Meat Plant and these restrictions may even differ between competing Meat Plants. It is the farmers responsibility to check this prior to taking your cattle to factory.
The Bord Bia scheme is an internationally accredited scheme and as part of this Bord Bia are required to spot audit a minimum percentage of farms each year. The volume of spot audits conducted on an annual basis runs at less than 1% of all audits conducted.
In general the majority of problems uncovered during an audit leading to non-compliance relate to record keeping and in particular, remedy record keeping. Ensuring you have a full and complete record of all medicine purchases and medicine usages prior to audit will help eliminate the non-compliances in this area.
Consistency. This is what auditors are trying to establish when reviewing farm records during an audit. They do this by determining the correlation that exists between the records, what is observed during the farm walk and what information is verbally communicated to them by the farmer during the farm walk.
No, Bord Bia requires farmers to keep records in relation to remedies, feed, animal movements, etc. However farmers have a number of options with regard to where they maintain records. In some cases retention of invoices/statements will suffice, software packages may be used or any other format that allows a farmer record all the required detail as set out in the standards.
Records only need to be kept in one location. Farmers are not expected to duplicate records, provided they are up to date with all the required headings.
The sign should contain the following statements:
No, the Bord Bia levy is a statutory levy, laid down by legislation, that part funds Bord Bia’s promotional activity throughout the world on behalf of all Irish farmers, Quality Assured or not.
Your Meat Plant pays any Quality Payment Bonus based on commercial criteria and market conditions at time of slaughter of your animals.
While your farm may indeed be Quality Assured, this does NOT necessarily mean all your cattle sent for slaughter will receive a Quality Payment Bonus, as this payment is dependent on other factors, outside of Bord Bia’s control. It is the responsibility of the farmer to check! It is absolutely vital that you check out your particular situation BEFORE sending your cattle to the factory. Check with your factory buyer, what the exact criteria are, in order that your cattle receive a Quality Payment Bonus, i.e. Age, Number of Movements, Days Residency, Grade, Weight, etc.