IRELAND - An audit of Ireland’s dairy sector by the Chinese authorities, has shown that Irish plants have been found to fully meet the standards of China’s new food safety laws.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney welcomed the publication of the final outcome of the audit, saying: “It is an excellent result that Ireland has achieved 100 per cent compliance with the Chinese requirements, and every company that applied for access has been accepted.
“This is further evidence of the value placed on both our dairy exports and our regulatory standards by key markets around the world.
“This outcome also demonstrates why three of the top four infant formula companies in the world have chosen to locate in Ireland and why we remain the best country for inward investment in the food sector.”
China introduced new food safety standards, which came into force on 1 May 2014.
To be allowed to continue to export to China required compliance with these regulations and the Chinese authorities conducted an inspection audit of the dairy production chain, with a focus on infant formula exporting plants, in several countries over the past few months.
The audit team visited Ireland in April, prior to which the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine accompanied by industry representatives visited Beijing for discussions with the Chinese authorities.
The positive outcome means that over 30 Irish dairy companies are now in compliance with the new Chinese regulations.
Minister Coveney thanked all involved in the audit noting that the positive outcome was the result of nine months of intense engagement by his Department, Bord Bia, the Irish Embassy in Beijing and Irish diary industry with the Chinese authorities.
Irish dairy exports to China were worth some €170m in 2013 which had increased from just €50m in 2011.
The Minister added: “Our partnership with China on agri-food issues stems from a common emphasis on the production high quality food underpinned by safety and reliability. I am delighted that this audit result represents a further endorsement by China of the robust food safety and security systems in place throughout the production chain in Ireland.
“I would like to thank the Chinese authorities for their constructive engagement through this audit process and we very look much forward to deepening our partnership in the future.
“This approval will allow the Irish dairy sector to build on their already formidable reputation in international markets, and in the increasingly important Chinese market, and to further capitalise on Ireland’s reputation for green, efficient, high quality dairy production.
“The abolition of dairy quotas this time next year will be an historic moment for the Irish agriculture and will mean that the Irish dairy sector can start to fully realise its potential in key markets such as China.”
TheMeatSite News Desk