An official inquiry has been launched into the collapse of Dairy Farmers of Britain and its implications for the dairy industry.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee announced this week that it would examine the impact of DFB’s failure on dairy farmers and the industry. It will also be looking at the governance and accountability structures in place at the stricken co-operative, and assess the causes and lessons to be learnt.

Efra’s announcement comes as something of a surprise after Defra secretary of state Hilary Benn appeared to rule out an inquiry earlier this month. Benn claimed at the time that there was no need for an investigation, despite pressure from the industry and some MPs.

The committee will not examine issues surrounding the receivership of DFB which are already being covered in an upcoming PricewaterhouseCoopers report.

News of the inquiry was welcomed by the Farmers Union of Wales. “Many questions need answering following DFB’s demise, which continues to have a devastating impact for hundreds of affected farmers and former employees of the co-operative,” said FUW milk committee chairman Eifion Huws.

Submissions have been called for by 31 August.