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Milk Quality Ireland

Farmers and Technicians urged to comply with strict physical distancing protocols and public health guidelines

Milk Quality Ireland has written today (Sunday, 29th March 2020) to registered milking machine technicians in relation to the new Government guidelines published over the weekend to prevent the spread of Coronavirus Covid-19.

Eamonn Farrell, Secretary of Milk Quality Ireland said today “the Government has stated that food production and care of animals is an essential service. Members of the Milk Quality Ireland register of milking machine technicians and bulk tank engineers are essential workers. Their work involves the maintenance of milking equipment, which is an essential service, integral to the functioning of the milk production supply chain.”

Mr Farrell continued “milking machine technicians and bulk tank engineers are covered as essential workers under the list of essential service providers under new public health guidelines published on the 28th March 2020.”

However, he stressed in the strongest possible manner “the Government guidelines are aimed at saving lives. Farmers, milking machine technicians and bulk tank engineers must ensure the work required over the period to the 19th of April is necessary and urgent and that when work is being completed the strictest possible protocols concerning physical distancing must be adhered to.”

Mr. Farrell advised milking machine technicians and bulk tank engineers prior to entering the farm to contact the farmer by phone, enquire discreetly with the farmer if he or any members of his family have COVID-19 virus or is self-isolating and to agree and confirm by phone that strict physical distancing will be followed during the farm visit. The technician should travel alone to the farm, where possible and ensure their vehicle is clean, stocked with gloves, disinfectant and hand sanitiser etc. It is absolutely essential that the farmer and the technician strictly maintain a social distance of 2 metres distance at all times and the farmer should allow the technician to complete the job alone, where possible.

Milk Quality Ireland was established in 1989 as the Irish Milk Quality Co-operative Society (IMQCS) with the aim to improve milk quality standards in Ireland and to ensure that Irish milking machine installation and testing standards equate with the best international standards. In 2019, IMQCS was renamed Milk Quality Ireland. Milk Quality Ireland interprets the ISO international standards on milking equipment for use in Ireland and defines further additional recommendations. The organisation maintains a list of milking machine technicians which have undergone approved training and certification.