IFA National Dairy Committee Chairman Tom Phelan said that the ‘Grass Fed standard’ developed by Bord Bia should only be considered by processors for certain products, if it’s guaranteed to deliver an extra margin in a particular market place.
Speaking at the launch he said, “To apply this verified standard for no return would be folly. Processors need to be sure it can be leveraged in the market place before applying it to any product lines. They must also ensure that the way in which they apply the standard does not devalue any individual farmer’s milk”.
He said it was important that co-ops would engage fully with their suppliers before deciding on applying the standard to any part of their milk pool.
“Most global customers generally understand that Irish cows are grass fed, but some international customers are looking for an official verified standard as others are making similar claims which are based on far fewer days at grass than we have in Ireland,” he said.
“The processors must not allow this standard to become the norm. It must be used selectively on international markets and it must deliver added value in the chain which can be passed back to all dairy farmers,” he said.