Bord Bia, The Irish Food Board quality assurance standards are based on four themes; Traceability, Animal Welfare, Care for the Environment, Care for the producer and Food Safety. These quality assurance standards cover beef production in its entirety from animal welfare on the farm to food safety (HACCP); welfare and transport and product traceability.
Every calf in Ireland is tagged at birth and issued with an individual passport to record all farm movements and health history during its lifetime. No animal can enter a production facility without its passport being verified through the department of agriculture’s Animal Identification and Movement System (AIM) computer system; because of this all Irish beef can be traced back to the farm of origin.
On the right you can see an example of a Cattle Identity card/ Passport, here supplied by Farmer Geoffrey Cope, Shankill Castle, Co. Kilkenny:
Irish grass-based farming has strong welfare credentials. The Animal Welfare Index (AWI) developed by Teagasc (Ireland’s farm advisory service) is a science based assessment and confirms that Irish grassland farming provides a natural growing environment, with good welfare conditions created by smaller social groups. This allows the opportunity for a strong maternal bond between cows and calves to develop with calves spending the first 6-10 months suckling their mothers at pasture. Irish beef never contains hormones and cows are only administered antibiotics when prescribed by a veterinary to treat illness. All medications prescribed are recorded in the cow’s individual passport providing complete traceability.