Over 850 applications received under Bord Bia’s new Quality Assurance Scheme

Over 850 applications have been received since Bord Bia launched its new Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme (SBLAS) earlier this year.

The new scheme was launched by Bord Bia in early April and a total of 861 new applications have been received in the past three months.

The majority of new applications have comprised of beef-only applications, which equalled 716. Lamb-only applications amounted to 29, while beef and lamb applications accounted for a total of 116.

Since the launch of the new scheme, the new application rate has increased slightly, Bord Bia confirmed to AgriLand.

Currently, the number of certified members in Bord Bia’s beef and lamb scheme stands at 50,672.

Bord Bia also added that it has conducted 7,066 audits against the new SBLAS standard since it was fully transitioned on April 24.

The SBLAS sets out the agreed standards for the production and certification of Irish beef and lamb.

The new scheme was designed in collaboration with the sector stakeholders, to meet the demands of global food buyers for verifiable proof of Ireland’s sustainability claims, according to Bord Bia.

Over the coming months, the new scheme is set to replace Bord Bia’s previous beef and lamb quality assurance audits on a phased basis.

At the time of the launch of the new scheme, the CEO of Bord Bia, Tara McCarthy, explained that a Technical Advisory Committee had worked on the scheme for the previous 18 months.

She said: “The commitment of Irish beef and lamb farmers to meeting the standards of the new SBLAS will ensure its success.

“In turn, the introduction of a close-out period and a helpdesk facility will make the scheme more user-friendly, while audit feedback will assist in delivering lower production costs at farm level.

“By incorporating sustainability into the new scheme we have simplified our message to international customers, giving us an edge on our competitors with a single, independently-certified standard that covers the quality and sustainability of our beef and lamb,” McCarthy said.