Industry warns producers of illegal ROI milk

Friday, 15 November, 2013

Joint statement on behalf of Dairy UK and the Ulster Farmers’ Union

Following a briefing by FSA (NI) and DARD on actions being taken in ROI and NI to deal with over quota milk in ROI being smuggled into NI, both Dairy UK (NI) and UFU have warned dairy farmers of the risk of engaging in these activities, not only in terms of their own farming enterprise, but also for the industry as a whole.  Both UFU and Dairy UK (NI) have condemned the actions of the few individuals who are involved in these smuggling activities, and have called on the authorities in both NI and ROI to identify those involved, and use the full rigours of the law to deal with them.    

Dr Mike Johnston, NI Director of Dairy UK said, “This is an extremely serious matter for the NI dairy industry as a whole.  The actions of a few individuals are putting at risk the livelihood of all dairy farmers in Northern Ireland.  Facilitating the smuggling of milk into NI jeopardises our dairy product exports, as well as the trust that consumers have in the integrity of our products.  Such is the seriousness of this that I would encourage all dairy farmers to be vigilant in their area, and report anything suspicious to the appropriate authority.” 

Dr Johnston continued,” Those who may see the opportunity for a quick profit should reflect on their risk.  Anyone who facilitates the smuggling of milk into Northern Ireland may seriously and irreparably damage their relationship with their milk buyer, and may face prosecution.  So, in effect, anyone involved in this activity is putting their farming enterprise at risk.  In addition, they also risk losing either a substantial proportion, or all of their single farm payment.  And if their action results in either milk or dairy products having to be withdrawn from the supply chain and destroyed, then their liability could be significant, to the extent that they could lose their farm.”

UFU President Harry Sinclair said; “This is a very serious issue that threatens the integrity of our entire dairy industry. It appears that a few unscrupulous individuals are potentially putting the good reputation of farmers at risk. I would strongly discourage anyone from getting involved in these illegal activities and would go further and ask everyone to be vigilant and to alert the authorities immediately of any suspicious activity happening in your area.”