Dairy farm inspections ‘unacceptable’

IRELAND - IFA President Padraig Walshe has stated it is not necessary for the Department of Agriculture to inspect dairy farmers during milking to comply with SFP cross compliance requirements.
calendar icon 5 December 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
Mr. Walsh said the Department has interpreted the cross compliance regulations in an extremely rigid and overzealous way. “The intrusion of Department inspectors at milking time is not necessary, totally unacceptable and much too high a risk in terms of health and safety,” he added.

The IFA President said the EU Commission guidance document provided to the Department of Agriculture states “farmers should be made aware that the control system includes the principle of ‘bottle neck’ which means the possibility to conduct the checks at the most appropriate level such as testing at the dairy plant as well as making use for assessment when possible of existing quality assurance schemes.”

Padraig Walshe said adopting this approach the Department of Agriculture can meet the specific cross compliance requirement on hygiene of milking premises, milk quality and animal health status using the existing structures and inspections which already take place on dairy farms.

He said at present under the Dairy Hygiene regulations the Co-ops inspect and certify 100% of dairy farms and milking parlours on behalf of the Department of Agriculture. Under the Veterinary Dairy Herd Animal Health Certification, veterinary surgeons certify 100% of dairy farms on an annual basis. In addition under the milk quality testing arrangements there is continuous testing of farmers milk by the Co-ops and the results of these tests are available on the farmers milk statement.

The IFA President said having Department personnel inspecting dairy farms during milking is not necessary taking account of the existing control systems already in place. “Department inspectors in milking parlours is needless duplication and is not required under any reasonable interpretation of the regulations,” he added.

The IFA President called on the Minister for Agriculture to call off the Department inspections of milking parlours under the SFP cross compliance checks.

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