A retailer and a processor have teamed up to develop “Lamb Producer Guidelines” to ensure the highest animal welfare and environmental standards from Irish suppliers.

The move is designed to provide guidance to “support farmers in producing best-in-class lamb to deliver consistently on quality and sustainable lamb production”.

The Lamb Producer Guidelines were developed by SuperValu in association with Kepak, which supplies SuperValu stores across the country with “the highest quality meat from independent Irish farmers”.

According to the two businesses, the publication of the guidelines underscores the commitment of both SuperValu and Kepak to sourcing the highest quality produce from Irish farms that adhere to strict animal welfare guidelines and that are dedicated to enhancing sustainability practices.

These factors contribute to high animal and food safety, as well as sustaining and enhancing the quality of Irish lamb for consumers, while protecting the natural environment and biodiversity for years to come.

Farmer PJ Finnerty with Ruth Dalton of Musgrave’s food safety and quality team in Brideswell, Co. Roscommon, at the ‘Lamb Producer Guidelines’ booklet launch. Image source: Damien Eagers Photography

The guidelines act as a link between producers and consumers, providing best-in-practice advice and guidance to farmers on enhancing the quality of their lamb under a diverse range of key criteria, including breeding and genetics, animal nutrition, health at lambing and transportation.

Separately, animal welfare is a key focus of the guidelines, which outline how good animal health and nutrition is imperative in helping to meet evolving high industry and consumer expectations around welfare, food safety and sustainable farming practices linked to enhancing the environment and biodiversity.

Commenting on the launch of the Lamb Producer Guidelines, Ray Bowe, head of food safety and quality, Musgrave, said: “We are very pleased that this guide will provide the support and advice that Irish lamb producers need to access our supply chain. The guidelines also secure access for SuperValu to a consistent supply of our sustainably produced high-quality, locally sourced lamb.”

Also commenting, Simon Walker, CEO of Kepak, said: “We are delighted to partner with SuperValu to publish these innovative Lamb Producer Guidelines, which promote best-in-class lamb production and provide key guidance, advice and recommendations to Irish sheep farmers.

“Animal welfare and environmental sustainability are a major focus of the guidelines highlighting how we need to consistently meet consumers’ evolving needs and expectations.

“The guide underlines our dedicated and continued efforts to supply local, high quality lamb to Irish consumers.”

Producers are encouraged to discuss topics raised in the guidance document with their local procurement and agricultural team for further advice for their specific production system, the two firms say.