IFA President Eddie Downey has welcomed the OIE decision to recognise Ireland as a country of ‘negligible risk’ BSE status. “This is a very significant milestone and will close off an extremely difficult chapter on BSE, which arose in the 1990s and caused severe financial and psychological difficulties for farmers and their families. The country’s new status is recognition of the commitment of farmers to achieving the highest herd health standard”.
Eddie Downey said the decision should also open a new era of increased access to international markets and reduced costs, which in turn should deliver increased opportunities and prices for Irish beef farmers.
As part of the IFA campaign to increase the age limit on prime cattle from 30 to 36 months, Eddie Downey said with the change in our BSE status, processors, retailers and Bord Bia need to work together to deliver on this important outcome of the Beef Forum. He said the delivery target set by Minister Coveney as chairman of the Beef Forum is that there will be no 30-month age limit applied in summer 2015.
Eddie Downey said Bord Bia have outlined that the vast majority of Irelands 80 plus top retail and food service customers do not have a 30-month age requirement. He said “There is now no scientific or market roadblock to increasing the 30 month age limit to 36 months and we must see delivery.”
The IFA President said the change in our BSE status and the recommended changes by the European Food Safety Authority to reduce SRM (Specified Risk Material) should result in significant savings in disposal costs for processors, which in turn will also add to the value of the carcase and cattle prices to producers.