IFA President Tim Cullinan said that he was astounded to see the detail of Bord Bia’s proposed application for PGI status for Irish Grass Fed beef.
“Bord Bia have gone back on their commitments to treat all categories of animal the same. They have banned all young bulls and other categories of animals even if they meet the grass-fed criteria. They also appear to have removed the latitude for animals to be indoors for longer in certain circumstances. This may well arise in some years in parts of the country where animals have to be housed earlier due to weather conditions,” he said.
“They have introduced, completely out of the blue, a new transport aspect which would appear to suggest that animals must go to a factory less than two hours away and that a licensed haulier must transport them. This is completely unacceptable,” he said.
“The animal’s meat now has to be ‘a more pronounced cherry red’ with ‘creaminess’ and this new ‘colour criteria’ is to be ruled on by a ‘Quality Control Inspector’ for the meat processor. The last thing we need in factories is a new layer of graders to rule on meat colour and ‘creaminess’,” he said.
“When PGI was raised at the recent Beef Taskforce, it was clear that it needed a lot more discussion. The only party that was completely in favour of Bord Bia’s concept was Meat Industry Ireland,” he said.
“The detail behind this proposal has been driven by MII and the factories. It is trying to give them even more control over farmers,” he said.
“As far as I am concerned, farmers must be at the heart of this process. Any benefit in the market place must accrue to farmers as we are the ones who are creating the value by grass feeding our animals,” he said.
“I am seeking a meeting with Minister Dara Calleary to discuss this whole PGI issue. Based on the current proposal, it’s likely to do more harm than good for farmers,” he said.