Industry Feed Assurance Group-Food Fortress

Industry Embraces Food Fortress

Since it’s launch in 2013 the agricultural industry has positively embraced the Food Fortress initiative.  Almost all of the animal feed manufacturers and merchants in Northern Ireland now sample feed as part of this initiative resulting in Northern Ireland now boasting one of the safest animal feed supply chains in the world.  All members of the Northern Ireland Beef and Lamb Farm Quality Assurance Scheme now source their animal feed from food fortress members.

Launch of Food Fortress

The Livestock and Meat Commission for Northern Ireland (LMC) hosted a red meat stakeholder meeting to formally launch the Food Fortress Feed Materials Scheme on Wednesday 27th November 2013.

Food Fortress is an industry wide initiative that will enhance assurance in the supply chain and allow the agri-food industry to promote our local, traceable, quality assured produce to both new and existing customers with greater confidence.

The launch event highlighted how cutting edge technology and innovative risk assessment practices designed at the world leading Global Food Safety Unit at Queens University Belfast will be used to strategically sample and test animal feed and therefore minimize the risk of contamination in the supply chain. This initiative will be implemented by industry in 2014 and will strengthen the robust food production systems and processes that we have in place in Northern Ireland at present.

The theme of the launch was ‘Working Together for Growth-Thinking Globally, Acting Locally’. DARD Permanent Secretary Noel Lavery welcomed delegates before Professor Chris Elliott, Director of the Institute of Global Food Security at Queens University, gave a presentation on risk management in the food industry and Robin Irvine, Chief Executive of the NI Grain Trade Association, explained the ‘Food Fortress’ feed assurance initiative. Ian Stevenson, Chief Executive of the Livestock and Meat Commission, indicated how the red meat industry will implement the ‘Food Fortress’ initiative.

Launch Event Presentations:

Professor Chris Elliot’s (QUB) Presentation is available here
Robin Irvine’s presentation is available here
Ian Stevenson’s presentation is available here

Implementation of Food Fortress for the beef and cheep sectors was completed on 1st October 2014.  Over 95% of animal feed businesses mixing or compounding feed now participate in the Food Fortress Scheme.  All members of Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assurance Scheme (NIBL FQAS) must also source animal feed from members of Food Fortress.  To find out more about Food Fortress visit the Northern Ireland Grain Trade’s website by clicking here

Background to the Industry Feed Assurance Group

In January 2011 the Northern Ireland Industry Feed Assurance Group (IFAG) published its report, ‘Assuring Food Safety in Northern Ireland’. This is a Northern Ireland agri-food industry wide development, which seeks to reduce the risks of food business operators in the feed manufacturing, farming and processing sectors in Northern Ireland associated with the potential contamination of feed material inputs to livestock and poultry.

The IFAG report is the result of a united industry response to the Dioxin crisis of December 2008, and is intended to alert all food and feed businesses to the commercial risks that arise from feeding contaminated feed to livestock or poultry. It is designed to assist companies and farm businesses to achieve the due diligence required of them by law through the implementation of best practice, which will reduce potential risk and food scares in the future.

Since the report was launched representatives from across the Northern Ireland agri -food industry have been working on implementation of the report’s recommendations.

A copy of the report is available to download here.

The Northern Ireland Industry Feed Assurance Group is made up of:

  • Agriculture Industries Confederation (AIC)
  • Dairy Council Northern Ireland (DCNI)
  • Livestock and Meat Commission for Northern Ireland (LMC)National Beef Association NI (NBA – NI)
  • Northern Ireland Agricultural producers Association (NIAPA)
  • Northern Ireland Grain Trade Association (NIGTA)
  • Northern Ireland Meat Exporters Association (NIMEA)
  • Northern Ireland Poultry Federation (NIPF)
  • University College Dublin (UCD)
  • Ulster Farmers Union (UFU)
  • Ulster Pork and Bacon Forum (UPBF)
  • Vion Food Group Ltd (Vion)