New stamp of approval for Irish craft butchers

Ireland is bringing out a certification system for craft butchers, which has been likened to a ‘Michelin-star’ system for independent high street butchers. 

The Associated Craft Butchers of Ireland (ACBI) has developed the programme, which is due to be published at the start of this month in order to provide a recognisable standard for consumers, as well as encouraging butchers to continually raise their game. It has been endorsed by Bord Bía (the Irish Food Board) and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).

In order to qualify for the certification, butchers will have to undergo a stringent auditing system, which covers preparation and display, traceability, store display and customer services, as well as hygiene standards.

Dave Lang, ACBI’s development manager said: “We want to put a system in place where our standard is higher than that of environmental health officers (EHOs) and there is a wow factor. When the shopper comes in through the door, they will know that it has very high standards.

“It will be along the lines of the Q Guild in the UK, but we’re hoping to get all our members – around 450 of them – on board, and for our membership to mean something to the consumers rather than being seen as just a sticker on the door.

“We’ve done some test audits and we are now ready to roll.”

Like Michelin stars, the certification will be assessed on an annual basis, and the craft butcher stamp can be removed if standards are not maintained to the highest degree.