INSPECTIONS


Are beef and lamb FQAS inspections going ahead?

Following an emergency meeting of the Northern Ireland Beef and Lamb Farm Quality Assurance Scheme (FQAS) Industry Board all face to face farm inspections were deferred due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This policy came into effect from Wednesday 18th March at 5pm. FQAS continues to operate and participants’ assured status will continue to be certified during the period of inspection deferral.  

Members whose renewals fall due will be invited to pay the annual renewal fee in order to continue participation in the scheme.

Members will be advised to pay online during this period. More detail can be found on the LMC website.

 

Are Red Tractor inspections going ahead?

All physical farm inspections have been suspended until further notice. This decision was taken in consultation with the Food Standards Agency and other enforcement bodies. In order to maintain certification to the Red Tractor scheme, there will be a requirement for the certification body to carry out a remote assessment in accordance with UKAS requirements.

Red Tractor is currently working with certification bodies to determine what these remote inspections will involve. Certification bodies will inform members affected by this and will provide more detail as soon as it becomes available. More information can be found on Red Tractor’s COVID-19 hub.

 

Are Red Lion egg inspections continuing?

Based on current advice from the government, a decision has been taken to cease all physical audits of Lion registered sites immediately. Protocols for remote inspections are currently being developed and further details of what this will look like will be made available in due course.

 

What is happening with the NI Farm Quality Assured Cereal Scheme?

Scheme owners UFU and NIGTA can confirm that all NIFCC face to face on farm inspections have been suspended due to coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The scheme owners and certification body NIFCC will provide members with additional information in due course.

 

DAERA inspections

All routine farm inspections in the areas of the Environment, EU Area Based Scheme, Agri food and Veterinary work, were paused until 15 May 2020. However essential inspections such as Public Health Risk Sampling, Brucellosis and bTb Surveillance, continued where possible. 

Where it was reported or suspected that there had been, or there was likely to be, potential or a significant impact on public health, animal health or pollution of the environment, the pausing of inspections will not apply. In those cases, DAERA staff undertook site inspections on farms (or elsewhere) to assess and resolve any issues. 

On 29 May 2020, DAERA Minister Edwin Poots MLA outlined the next steps for DAERA’s routine inspection programme and has outlined that a number of inspections will restart over the coming days and weeks.  while some routine inspections will recommence almost immediately, the pause on others will continue in the interests of public health. 

 

NON-FARM INSPECTIONS 

Inspections / investigations currently underway include: 

NIEA 

  • Any reported incidents where there is a risk to human health or serious risk to the environment
  • Incidents of fly tipping assessed as having the potential to be a high or medium risk
  • Administrative inspections of waste movements
  • Regulation of NI Water in relation to drinking water quality
  • Regulation of private water supply sites through the risk management process
  • Targeted surveillance and inspections in identified higher risk locations with the potential to impact on drinking water supplies
  • Compliance sampling for the construction of the A6
  • Investigation of significant water pollution incidents
  • Incidents of a serious nature relating to dangerous wild animals, wildlife crime, and invasive species and damage to protected sites

 

Marine and Fisheries 

  • Satellite fishing vessel monitoring and vessel logging in harbours 
  • Live fish movement certification scheme
  • Inspections of glass eel imports
  • Potential breaches of marine licenses
  • Inspection of marine protected sites
  • Response to medium or high severity fish kills
  • Logging vessels in harbours to verify lost fishing opportunity
  • Recreational fisheries inspections
  • Public angling estate inspections

 

VSAHG 

  • High risk animal by-products establishment inspections (renderers etc) 
  • Inspections of porcine AI centres
  • National Residue Control plan sampling for milk and eggs
  • Sampling of C1 seed for certification
  • Inspections on raw cow drinking milk producers
  • Reactive follow up work (via telephone) to antibiotic failures
  • Collection of NI radioactivity surveillance plan samples by milk processors

 

Inspection and sampling of imported animal feeds 

  • Meat official controls; 
  • Pig carcase classification; 
  • Egg marketing checks; 
  • Animal feed checks; 
  • Dairy inspections; 
  • Risk based sanitary and phytosanitary portal inspections;   

 

Forestry 

  • Essential forestry regulation inspections 
  • Payment related forestry grant scheme inspections
  • Plant health inspections and regulatory response to serious pest threats in high risk import trade and outbreaks

 

Inspections / investigations starting soon include: 

NIEA 

  • Pollution Prevention and Control inspections
  • Control of Major Accidents and Hazards (COMAH) inspections 
  • Some visits to support the determination of discharge consents
  • Programme of waste compliance monitoring
  • Routine inspection of waste industry sites
  • Routine Water Regulation inspections
  • Planned routine audits of NI Water sites
  • Routine inspections of private waste water discharges, abstractions and impoundment sites and compliance sampling for industrial consents
  • Compliance sampling for industrial consents
  • Routine monitoring of private water supplies

 

Forestry 

  • Programme of Afforestation inspections

 

VSAHG 

  • Medium risk animal by-product inspections
  • Animal welfare including, transport, livestock markets and animal establishments inspections
  • Third Country compliance audits in abattoirs

 

Routine inspections / investigations with continued pause include: 

NIEA 

  • Radioactive substances inspections
  • Reports concerning alleged illegal waste disposal which have been assessed as low level and low risk
  • Routine inspections of waste water treatment works and waste water pumping stations (pending resolution of PPE / risk assessment due to aerosols) 
  • Routine oil and pesticide storage checks on industrial premises
  • Routine zoo and wildlife licence inspections

 

Marine and Fisheries 

  • Routine inspections of fishing vessels at sea
  • Routine inspections relating to low severity fish kills
  • Investigations into low level reports of illegal fishing

 

VSAHG 

  • Non-statutory RISK scheme sampling

 

Forestry 

  • Low risk non-essential plant health, produce quality and pest inspections

 

FARM INSPECTIONS 

Inspections / investigations currently underway include: 

  • Any reported incidents where there is a risk to human health or serious risk to the environment, including high risk or high impact waste pollution or offending, or high or medium severity water pollution incidents; 
  • EU Area Based Scheme Inspections 
  • Environmental Farming Scheme pre-approval checks; 
  • Young Farmer (YF) Scheme interviews (2019); 
  • Client Referral (CR1) checks; 
  • Cross compliance whistle blower reports. 

 

VSAHG 

  • Salmonella sampling 
  • New herd or flock number application critical to Basic Payment Scheme 
  • Scrapie monitored scheme application visits
  • NI Poultry Health Assurance Scheme visits
  • Brucellosis – continue current testing programme 
  • Bovine TB surveillance - interferon gamma testing and TB breakdown mapping visits

 

Inspections / investigations starting soon include: 

NIEA 

  • Cross compliance inspections SMR 1 (nitrates and phosphates) at a reduced rate 
  • Cross compliance inspections SMR2 and SMR3 ( Wild Birds and Semi –Natural Habitats respectively) at a reduced rate and where there can be continued adherence to social distancing requirements

 

EU Area Based Schemes 

  • Full Environmental Farming Scheme inspections
  • Rapid Field Visits (RFVs) for the Basic Payment Scheme 
  • New Business ID inspections

 

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VSAHG 

  • Other Animal Disease Surveillance

 

Routine inspections / investigations with continued pause include: 

EU Area Based Schemes Inspections 

  • Hedge Mitigation
  • Young Farmer Scheme Interviews (2020)

 

VSAHG 

  • Routine Brucellosis herd and abattoir surveillance suspended