Science & Technology in Action

15th Edition

Farm sustainable assurance schemes

Bord Bia

Today consumers want to be sure that the food they buy is of high quality and is produced in a sustainable and ethical way. Farm Sustainable Assurance Schemes aim to provide this reassurance. Additionally, the schemes greatly assist producers and processors in promoting and marketing their produce.
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Lesson excerpt

Why are Farm Sustainable Assurance Schemes important?

Today consumers want to be sure that the food they buy is of high quality and is produced in a sustainable and ethical way. Farm Sustainable Assurance Schemes aim to provide this reassurance. Additionally, the schemes greatly assist producers and processors in promoting and marketing their produce. Bord Bia’s Farm Sustainable Assurance Schemes are developed in response to the sustainability demands of the marketplace (e.g. shoppers, retailers and international customers). These purchasers of Irish food demand proof that the products are of the highest quality and that the food is produced sustainably on farms that are certified members of an accredited Farm Assurance Scheme. These schemes are based on food quality and sustainability principles which involve transparency, food safety, environmental, social and economic considerations.

Objectives of Farm Sustainable Assurance Schemes

The schemes have been designed to assess farming practices and record data to demonstrate the sustainability of Irish farming in a systematic way at an individual farm level. This can provide the necessary proof to customers that Irish farm produce has been produced under sustainability and quality assurance criteria. The central scheme objectives are:

• To demonstrate to customers that food and drink products are produced under an accredited scheme;

• To provide a uniform mechanism for recording and monitoring: - farm quality assurance criteria and; - the sustainability criteria of the farm.

• To set out the criteria for best practice and continuous improvement in sustainable farming production;

• To provide an ongoing means of demonstrating best practice at producer level.

True or False?

  1. Bord Bia operates sustainable assurance schemes for the food industry in Ireland. true
  2. Over 51,000 producers are audited every 18 months under Bord Bia’s farm schemes. true
  3. The world’s population is growing, meaning that sustainable food production is becoming increasingly important. true
  4. Bord Bia’s schemes are accredited to the ISO 17065:2012 by the Irish National Accreditation Board. true
  5. Origin Green members include farmers and businesses. true
  6. Sustainability data gathered on farms include greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity, soil and water management, energy efficiency and socio-economic factors. true
  7. Origin Green members do not have to record important sustainability information. false
  8. The Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme was introduced in 2003. false

Glossary of terms

accredited
officially recognised
audits
professional inspection
biodiversity
the number and variety of organisms found within a specified geographic region
credentials
claims of quality that can be verified
ethical
that can be recognised as good
food supply chain
the entire process -- food production, harvesting, packing, transport, retail, to end user
green farming practices
farming methods that are sustainable in the long term
greenhouse gas emissions
emission of compounds of the atmosphere that contribute to the greenhouse effect by absorbing terrestrial radiation
infrastructure
the set of interconnected structural elements that provide the framework for the entire structure
ISO 17065:2012
International Standards Organisation - Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services
non-compliances
not meeting the required standards
optimising
achieving the best outcome
Origin Green
Ireland’s food and drink sustainability programme, led by Bord Bia
sustainable agriculture
agriculture at a level that can be sustained while protecting the environment in the long term
viability
capable of surviving (in the medium to long term)
carbon footprint
a measure of the amount of carbon dioxide produced by an individual or group over a specified period of time (e.g. a year).