Following a visit to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC): ‘Food Fortress Feed Materials Scheme’, launched at Greenmount recently, Martina Anderson MEP called for a ‘Fortress Ireland’ approach to insure against animal disease and feed contamination.

Martina Anderson said:

“I commend the work carried out by the LMC supported by Agriculture Minister, Michelle O’Neill to ensure that we have a safe and quality agri-food sector here.

“I also commend the Minister and her Dublin counterpart, Simon Coveney for the manner in which they collaborate to ensure that our agri sector is safeguarded as much as possible from animal disease and feed contamination. As an island society it is imperative that this collaborative work is intensified to increase recognition of our high quality and safe product worldwide.

“I believe that this Fortress Ireland approach is the appropriate one to adopt as was demonstrated on previous occasions of crisis such as the Foot & Mouth outbreak.

“As Shadow Rapporteur on the ENVI Committee of the EU Parliament addressing issues relevant to the Food Fortress Feed Materials Scheme; such as Fraud in the Food Chain, the application of food and feed law, rules on animal health and welfare etc., I am available to assist the sector in whenever way necessary.

“’The Food-Fortress Feed Materials Scheme’ is the perfect vehicle to promote our local, traceable, quality assured product to both new and existing customers. It will provide the cornerstone for assurance in the supply chain.

“Another example of the benefits of the ‘Fortress Ireland’ approach is the partnership between the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University, Belfast supported by the Institute of Food and Health at University College, Dublin who lead the way in developing and harnessing the potential provided by the latest technologies.

“Their R&D is focussed on developing technologies such as industry-wide risk based surveillance programmes for testing animal feed materials. This involves techniques to detect contamination levels in feed which could provide our agri-food sector with a valuable competitive edge.  This is just one more example of the benefits that can accrue from increased collaboration across the island.”