The Irish Grain and Feed Association (IGFA) is calling for the introduction of internationally recognised feed safety standards in order to maintain the high reputation of Irish feed products internationally.

This key message emerged as the IGFA invited The International Feed Safety Scheme to discuss common areas and issues across the industry in order to enhance greater harmonisation.

Robust selection and qualification measures are vital components in the safety and quality management systems and strategy of all businesses, it said.

“This was the first such meeting and we are very proud to have been able to assist with this meeting before the Irish Presidency hosting came to an end. It is essential for Ireland to have internationally recognised feed safety standards in place and to promote harmonisation of these schemes so that they do not act as trade blocks to Irish products,” said IGFA director Deirdre Webb.

The series of meetings came on the back of several high-profile food scandals in the last year in Europe, which included the horsemeat scandal, mislabelled organic eggs and aflatoxin contamination in milk in the Netherlands due to contaminated Serbian and Romanian grains.

“We have used the lessons and crises from the first half of 2013 to assess our early warning and incident control procedures and looked at what lessons can be learned from the horsemeat scandal in particular.

“The food industry must be protected and the IGFA, as a critical part of this chain, takes its responsibility very seriously. While we accept that no system is foolproof, particularly where deliberate fraud occurs, this should not lead to complacency but instead reinforces the need for a more dynamic approach to feed safety to be adopted in order to attempt to reduce the risk to the food chain,” added Webb.