Speaking at a protest outside a butcher shop in Laois today (Wednesday), IFA Pigs Committee Chairman Pat O’Flaherty called on consumers to check that retailers’ claims to support Irish suppliers match the reality.
“Some butchers, retailers and food service outlets trade strongly on their declared support for Irish suppliers, but in reality a lot of the pork and poultry products on their shelves is imported. Worse still is the unclear labelling of imported produce which makes it very difficult, if not impossible, for consumers to identify that the products on display are imported.
“Consumers want to know where their meat is coming from so we are highlighting this anomaly and reminding shoppers to look beyond marketing and to examine the country of origin labelling on products to make sure they are not misled.
“When a butcher shop declares that it supports Irish suppliers, consumers expect this to be true for all meat products in the shop. Unfortunately, in the case of some butchers, that’s not the case. We are urging consumers who want to buy Irish and to support Irish farmers to check origin labels or to challenge the butcher directly about the origin of their meat.”
“We appreciate that local butchers are operating in a competitive environment and that many work hard to support Irish producers. However, there is no justification for misleading consumers on the origin of their meat and IFA is going to highlight this wherever it is happening.” Pat O’Flaherty concluded.
IFA has for some time been campaigning for country of origin labelling be strengthened to stop misleading practices and to eliminate signage which may confuse or mislead consumers. Country of Origin labelling has been required for all pre-packed non-processed meat products since April 1st this year. Members of the public who have any queries on labelled products should report these to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.