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IFA President Joe Healy said the EU Commission’s announcement on greater price transparency as part of bringing greater fairness to the food chain is another important step in the campaign to give farmers a bigger share of the final consumer price.

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FA Poultry Chairman Andy Boylan has called on all stakeholders in the poultry industry, including retailers and wholesalers who sell chicken, to recognise the rising costs of producing chicken.

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Kerry Foods

Addressing a protest at the Kerry Foods plant in Shillelagh, Co Wicklow today, IFA Poultry Chairman Andy Boylan said chicken growers are demanding a commitment from Kerry Foods to support Irish produced chicken, following the revelation that chicken sold under the Denny label did not come from Ireland.

He said the fact that Kerry Foods originally said that the chicken came from Brazil, but then that it came from other countries, only adds to the general confusion for consumers.

IFA want the country-of-origin of the primary source of meat used in prepared foods such as this Denny product to be clearly stated on the packaging to stop misleading Irish consumers who thought they were buying locally-produced food.

He said, “This loophole in the current labelling legislation that Kerry Foods are exploiting to mislead consumers reinforces the importance of trusting the Bord Bia Quality Assurance label”.

Andy Boylan called on Irish MEPs and the EU Commissioner for Agriculture to ensure that this issue is highlighted and addressed as a matter of urgency at EU legislative level.

He said Irish consumers feel misled by a brand that they have loyalty to. Kerry Foods has failed to show the same support for locally-produced Bord Bia Quality Assured chicken.

“Poultry farmers have had their margins squeezed with all inputs increasing by 15-30% in the past two years. They need an increase to cover their costs, and don’t want to see an Irish food company, Kerry Foods, and their brand Denny which is perceived as an Irish brand, using imported product.”

“The Irish consumer values and trusts Irish poultry and all food processors should support locally produced chicken. For Kerry Foods to import chicken from across the globe when the most efficiently produced chicken is produced on their doorstep here is a disgrace and needs to be rectified.”

IFA Poultry Chairman Andy Boylan has called on Kerry Foods to support Irish produced chicken, following the revelation that chicken sold under the Denny label came from Brazil.

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IFA’s Poultry Chairman, Andy Boylan has called on retailers to pay poultry producers for their products by weight, not by classification.

Under the current arrangement chickens are classified as small, medium and large and poultry farmers are paid a set price, depending on the weight scale a bird falls within. This works to the advantage of retailers and means producers are losing out financially.

IFA’s Poultry Chairman, Andy Boylan said, “The current system essentially results in retailers getting up to 200gms for free on certain birds. This is completely unacceptable at a time when poultry producers are struggling with increased production costs.”

“If we look at other meats, such as beef, retailers charge customers by weight for the product. It’s transparent, in that if you ask for 800gms of mince, the butcher weighs it and you pay for 800grms. This does not happen with poultry. A small chicken is classified as weighing between 1100-1300gms. Retailers pay poultry producers a flat price, regardless of the weight of the bird. I know from my own facility that it’s impossible to keep a bird at an exact weight of 1100gms, which means retailers often end up getting product for free. This has to change. Chicken feed costs have increased dramatically in 2018, as have energy costs, labour and the general cost of doing business. The retailers that ultimately sell chicken to the consumer need to recognise the true costs of sustainable production,” said Boylan.

Supermarkets put pressure on producers to produce chicken to a very high Bord Bia standard, and this unfair trading practice has to end.

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