IFA President Tim Cullinan said that some of the correspondence released under FOI to ‘The Currency’ yesterday shows that the CCPC were dancing to the meat industry’s tune by trying to stymie any attempt to get a better return for the farmer.
“They failed to act on hundreds of complaints from farmers, but sprang into action as soon as Meat Industry Ireland wrote to them,” he said.
“It is extraordinary that despite what was going on at the time, and the volume of complaints made to the CCPC, they refused to use their considerable powers to carry out any type of investigative work to seek evidence of collusion,” he said.
“In fact, the CCPC only responded to farmer complaints when the IFA legal team wrote to them threatening legal action due to their failure to carry out their functions,” he said.
“Out of frustration, IFA recently took out public advertisements seeking evidence of collusion between processors,” he said.
“It seems the CCPC is only interested in keeping prices to consumers low, and is ignoring their remit to enforce fair competition along the chain,” he said.
“The focus on keeping consumer prices down is putting undue pressure on all parts of the food chain. We need a totally new approach on food. The Government must move to set up the office of the Food Ombudsman as committed to in the Programme for Government. We need to focus on fairness throughout the chain, rather than on a narrow cheap food agenda,” he said.