In recent times, we have seen a lot of developments in the beef sector concerning PGI and the Grass-Fed Standard, writes Pat Maher, Co. Kilkenny.
My concern is that there is still a lot of confusion out there amongst farmers about what the PGI status and Grass-Fed standard actually are.
Although Bord Bia issued a letter to their QAS members explaining that both PGI and Grass-Fed Standard are completely different things, they are both closely linked which is causing the confusion.
Just as recent as early October, Bord Bia stated that the Grass-Fed Standard is a processor scheme. A processor scheme should be at processor level yet all the requirements for this standard/scheme are at producer level?
It would appear that this could potentially be contrary to ISO accreditation standards of which Bord Bia claims to have accredited this scheme under.
It is baffling how a scheme can be developed for processors and then prescribe the requirements for this scheme onto producers?
According to the legal standards framework, this standard should have been informed and developed by producers if all the requirements are at producer level.
The PGI status will be built on the foundation of this processor standard/scheme. My question is what farm representative body, acting on behalf of farmers, would support such an application for PGI based on this questionable standard considering there was no producer representation at the development stage and that this scheme has been developed entirely by processors for farmers for the benefit of processors?