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Food and Farming Innovation Showcased to European Commissioner

07 April 2015

UK - The innovative work taking place throughout the supply chain was the key topic for European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan recently, when he met with representatives of the Northern Ireland food, animal feed and farming sectors.

The discussions included an initiative driving new standards in quality control and ground-breaking developments in the area of agri-nutrition.

Moy Park, Devenish Nutrition Ltd and the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University Belfast presented a showcase of pioneering projects to the Commissioner during his visit to Northern Ireland late March.

These included ‘Food Fortress’, an initiative led by the Northern Ireland Grain Trade Association and Queen’s University Belfast, which aims to enhance quality control procedures through an industry wide sampling and testing programme.

The Commissioner also learned about innovation in the area of agri-nutrition aimed towards improving human health.

A UK and Ireland wide partnership, including the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, have been working to develop a unique enriched chicken feed product, which will subsequently deliver considerable health benefits for consumers.

Speaking at the meeting with Commissioner Hogan at Queen’s, Owen Brennan, Executive Chairman of Devenish Group said: “Alongside our partners at Moy Park and Queen’s, we were delighted to have the opportunity to meet with Commissioner Hogan and share specific examples of the globally leading innovation taking place within the Northern Ireland food and farming supply chain, driven by a collaborative approach to raising standards and breaking new ground.

“The support of the European Commission is vital to furthering this type of work and we were greatly encouraged by the Commissioner’s commitment and enthusiasm. By remaining at the vanguard of innovation, this vital sector to the Northern Irish economy has the potential to impact positively on the economy and society far beyond these shores,” Mr Brennan said.

Moy Park UK and Ireland Director, Alan Gibson said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to speak to Commissioner Hogan about the innovative work we have been involved in with our partner Devenish.”

Prof Chris Elliott, Director of the Institute for Global Food Security (Queen’s University Belfast), added: “The Institute is recognised for its world-leading research to provide the world with a safe, nutritious supply of food.

“The researchers at Queen’s have lengthy experience and understanding of the threats caused by contamination of feed materials.

“We have established a programme of sharing best practice across Europe, and globally, in developing effective ways of dealing with supply chain contamination.

“The Food Fortress project was considered one of the top priorities to support the entire NI agri food sector and we are now working with the processing sector to take the innovative risk management system further to protect the entire NI food chain.

“We look to forward to exciting new opportunities, partnering with industry to compete successfully on a global scale.”

Pictured above at Queen's University Belfast are (l-r): Prof Aaron Maule, Acting Head, School of Biological Sciences, Queen's University Belfast; Prof James McElnay, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Queen's University Belfast; Owen Brennan, Executive Chairman, Devenish; Commissioner Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development; Alan Gibson, UK and Ireland Director, Moy Park; Robin Irvine, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Grain Trade Association. Photo by Simon Graham/Harrison Photography

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