IRELAND – Bord Bia, an Irish state agency that promotes sales of Irish food, has developed a new Food Processor Standard (FPS) that requires processors to submit a three-to-five-year sustainability plan.

The new standard combines and replaces the Meat Processor Quality Assurance Standard (MPQAS) and the Prepared Fruit and Vegetable Standard (PFVS).

The MPQAS was developed for meat factories that wish to sell products as Bord Bia Quality Assured (QA) products. All such meat must come from farms that are also certified to Bord Bia Quality Assurance Schemes. Only meat from QA farms which is processed in QA Meat factories can use the Bord Bia Logo on product.

The standard which will become mandatory from November 15, is designed to ensure adherence to best practice in food processing from intake through to dispatch. However, processors who wish to be audited against the new standard can do so from May 15.

The standard is structured into five core modules to allow members to tailor the scope of their certification to match their operations.

Module A is the minimum requirement for certification and covers food safety management and sustainability whereas Module B covers product quality and quality mark logo use.

Module C covers all aspects of meat processing from the lairage to cutting and mincing while Module D applies only to fruit and vegetable processing.

The final module which is Module E, lays out requirements for further processing such as pasteurization, smoking, and fermentation.

Any processor who wishes to use the Bord Bia logo on packs will be required to incorporate Module A and B of the standard.

Speaking about the new standard, Alice McGlynn, Origin Green head of operations said the new standard’s requirements are not vastly different from the previous schemes’. However, she noted that there is greater emphasis on sustainability and food safety, and for meat processors, animal welfare.

To achieve certification to the standard, Alice expounded, businesses will be required to have an independently verified sustainability plan in place, such as with Origin Green membership.

“The sustainability plan submitted must set targets and track progress over time. Members must also provide evidence of an appropriate food safety culture, which is a requirement of a new EU food safety regulation,” she said.

The Standards are developed through a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) made up of representatives from the industry, Bord Bia, farm organizations, Teagasc, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and other regulatory experts.

Bord Bia currently operates schemes for primary producers of beef, dairy, lamb, poultry, pig, egg, feed, and horticulture. All Bord Bia standards are accredited by the Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB) to ISO 17065.

The agency recently partnered with the leading premium retailer in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Spinneys, for a sustainability themed promotion to highlight Irish brands and their participation in Origin Green, Ireland’s national food and drink sustainability programme.

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