The latest figures from Bord Bia shows that there has been a significant increase in numbers taking part in the Beef and Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme (BLQAS) over the past 12 months.

Bord Bia says the unprecedented rise is due to factories requiring QA animals and the fact that there is now a increased the price differential between QA and non QA animals. There are currently some 44,914 member of the scheme an increase of 25% since July 2013. When the figures are compared to July of 2012 the membership of the scheme is up by over 11,000.

Quality assurance scheme numbers

According to Bord Bia Beef and Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme (BLQAS) is an integrated scheme involving the producer and the processing plant working in partnership to provide the customer with quality assured product. The scheme describes the essential quality assurance requirements from primary production through factory processing to final despatch which are necessary to meet customer requirements. In addition, the scheme lays down additional standards to be complied with at each step of the production chain.

Producers seeking membership can initially apply directly to Bord Bia or through their meat processor. A special application form will be provided and must be signed by the producer. A producer declaration form will be completed at the audit to establish the proper basis for the audit. The application will then be evaluated and, if appropriate, a full independent audit of the producer will be carried out to evaluate the capability of the applicant to meet all the requirements of the Standard. This audit will be conducted by an independent auditor from a Bord Bia appointed inspection body.

When the producer is deemed to have complied with the requirements of the Standard, the herd will be considered for certification under the Scheme. When certified, the producer will be issued with a certificate for the herd which will be listed on the Bord Bia register/database. Before the certification expires, the producer will receive a reminder letter from Bord Bia advising that a further audit is required to maintain certification.