O’Neill Promotes Agri-Food Sector’s Leading Food Traceability Controls

Today (Tuesday 8 April) in Belfast, Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill opened a major international food safety conference.

At the Food Integrity and Traceability Conference food safety experts from around the world met to discuss the current and emerging threats to the integrity of the agri-food supply chain and new analytical tools for addressing these.dn_screen

Queen’s University, in collaboration with safefood, the joint North-South body responsible for the promotion of food safety, hosted the conference which welcomed 300 scientists, regulators and agri-food producers from over 25 countries.

During her opening address Minister O’Neill said: “I have always championed our local produce. The quality, safety and provenance of our food is second to none. We need to work hard to maintain our excellent reputation, both on these islands and further afield. That means using the latest tools, systems and techniques to stay ahead of the game.

“The traceability controls in our agri-food supply chains emphasise the benefits to consumers and businesses of purchasing local produce, not only in terms of their environmental, economic and social benefits but also the integrity and safety of our produce. These controls underpin access to all important export markets that are critical for the growth of our local agri-food sector.”

The Minister added: “I know that when I am talking to Ministers and officials in other countries, I can tell them, with confidence, that our food has world leading traceability and safety controls. This gives local food companies a significant advantage over competitors and it is something that we should be rightly proud of.”

The conference is taking place at Queen’s University Belfast from 8 – 10 April 2014. There will also be an ‘Artisans’ Market’ on the front lawn of the University, showcasing the excellent quality of NI food and drink, from 8.30am – 6.00pm on the first day.