Helping you prepare for your Bord Bia Audit
Some of the key areas that commonly arise for farmers in complying with the Bord Bia audit include medicine usage and purchase records; Farm Safety Risk Assessments, and water tests. We provide further information and tips bellows to help you prepare for your audit.
What happens if I am found non-compliant?
Minor non-compliances can be found and the farmer will still pass their audit provided their score is above 60%. However, they must address these issues prior to their next audit. Major non-compliances must be corrected in the time agreed with the auditor, typically 30 days, but extensions can be granted depending on circumstances. This is known as the close-out period.
The most common reason for beef, sheep, and dairy members being non-compliant during their audit is related to the recording of animal remedy usage. Farmers will be found non-compliant for having no records of remedy usage (a major non-compliance) or an incomplete register of remedy usage (a minor non-compliance).
Guide to Recording Animal Remedy Usage
Animal remedy usage can be recorded in any one of the following formats:
- The Animal Remedies Record section of the Bovine Herd Register (BHR).
- Computer based records;
- The Bord Bia Remedies Usage Record in the Bord Bia Farm Book and (for dairy only) the Bord Bia Tube Usage Register. (Call the Helpdesk on 01 524 0410 to get a records book posted out.)
For animal remedy usage records, you must record the following:
- Date of administration.
- Name of medicine.
- Quantity given.
- Identification of animal.
- Name of person giving the medicine/remedy or the name of the prescribing vet.
- Date of end of withdrawal period. A common mistake is to insert the number of withdrawal days instead of date of end of withdrawal period.
Where an individual animal is treated, the identity of the animal must be clearly documented, for example using the tag number or freeze brand.
Where the remedy is administered to a group of animals, it must be possible to clearly identify each animal in the group from the relevant Herd Register (e.g. all calves born Jan 1 - Mar 31 only, or ‘all replacement weanling heifers’).
Animal Remedy Purchases
Failing to keep animal remedy purchase records (a major non-compliance) or incomplete records of remedies purchased (a minor non-compliance), is also a common non-compliance among beef and sheep farmers.
Purchase records can be kept using computer-based records, by using a manual such the Bord Bia Farm Book, or by retaining vet’s prescriptions for the previous six months.
The following details must be included:
- Date of purchase.
- Medicine name.
- Quantity purchased
- Name and address of the supplier.
The auditor will need to see two pages of the most recent animal remedies both bought and used. If using a computer package, then the equivalent of two pages will need to be provided. Records should also correspond to some degree with what is stored in your medicine cabinet.
The third most common reason for SBLAS members being non-compliant is due to not having a completed or up-to-date Farm Safety Risk Assessment (FSRA) or, where there are three or more employees on the farm, members must have an up-to-date Farm Safety Statement (FSS).
Having a complete Farm Safety Risk Assessment / Farm Safety Statement is a legal requirement, aimed at reducing the risk of injury or ill health for all who work on the farm, or who are affected by the work.
For the remote audit, the auditor will need to see the revision date and signature, plus at least two pages from machinery or other relevant section.
Safe, Potable Water (Dairy only)
Dairy farmers who use a private water well for dairy washing must have evidence of a water test report for microbiological contamination. This is the second most common major non-compliance among dairy farmers.
Enterococci and E. coli must be absent in 100ml and the test must have been conducted within the last 3 years. Farmers using water from a group water scheme do not require a water test report.
The third most common major non-compliance among dairy farmers is an absence of potable water for hand washing and washing milk contact surfaces. This must be readily available for optimum hygiene and milk quality.
In line with the new public health measures announced by the Government in April, Bord Bia on-farm audits can recommence on 17th May. Members of the Sustainable Assurance Schemes for Beef, Lamb and Dairy, will now have the option of an on-farm audit or a remote audit, whichever they are most comfortable with. Both on-farm and remote audits carry a maximum certification period of 18 months.
Where possible, remote audits are preferable to minimise risk.
Farmers with an upcoming audit will be contacted by their assigned auditor at least two weeks before their certification is due to expire. They can then decide if they wish to have an on-farm or a remote audit.
To be deemed eligible to conduct audits, auditors must first complete training on safety procedures relating to Covid-19 and complete the Bord Bia Return To Audit Survey. Auditors must also use the Government COVID Tracker App on the day of each audit to confirm that they are not experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms before arriving on farms. Responsibility also lies with the farmer/auditee to follow public health guidelines in regards to social distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
Check when your certification is due for renewal.
Checklist for the Remote Audit:
For any questions related to your audit or your certification, please contact the Bord Bia Helpdesk, 01 524 0410, open 9am to 8pm, Monday to Friday.