Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue has today published proposals that will give a legislative basis for an office of a National Food Ombudsman.
A major plank of Fianna Fáil policy is to ensure a fair return for the primary producer and equity and transparency in the food supply chain.
Deputy McConalogue explained, “This Bill makes provision for the establishment of a National Food Ombudsman as part of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC); to mediate, investigate and adjudicate disputes.
“The Ombudsman would also oversee the relationship between retailers, wholesalers and their suppliers, including the primary producer to ensure a more transparent and equitable food supply chain.
“This will ensure that farmers who may be subject to unfair trading practices by retailers or wholesalers would have direct access to an independent Food Ombudsman within the CCPC. The Ombudsman would also have specific responsibility for investigating and resolving disputes.
“Fianna Fáil will continue to fight for farmers to ensure they receive a fair price for their produce and to improve transparency in the food supply chain. Last year we submitted proposals to the European Commission for the protection of primary producers from the power of the multiples and the major processors.
“It was very disappointing that European Agriculture Ministers failed to reach agreement last week on a common definition of unfair trading practices. Farmers are being let down at a time of incredible market volatility.
“More must be done to protect and support primary producers. This Bill is one step in the process. I look forward to engaging with all interested stakeholders to receive feedback on our Bill with a view to introducing it in the Dáil”.