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.”
04 02 2019
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.
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.
IFA’s Poultry Chairman, Andy Boylan has called on all stakeholders involved in the processing and retailing of poultry meat and eggs, to recognise the increased costs of production. He said that Bord Bia Quality assured chicken and eggs produced by farmers to the highest quality standards and in an environmentally sustainable fashion, also need to be produced in a financial sustainable manner too.
Without adequate remuneration, farmers cannot stay producing chicken and eggs, which convert Irish grain into high quality protein in the most efficient manner of all farmed animals.
Chicken meat has overtaken pig meat as the largest consumed meat in the world in 2017 and its health benefits are well recognised.
Irish poultry farmers want to continue to produce chicken and expand production to meet market demand. “All farmers want is to have a margin left after covering their costs of production”, said Boylan.
Chicken feed costs has increased dramatically in 2018, as have energy costs, labour and the general cost of doing business. This needs to recouped. The farmer can only negotiate with their direct processors but the issue is wider than simply the farmer and factor manager haggling over price.
The retailers that ultimately sell chicken to the consumer need to recognise the true costs of sustainable production. Continuously discounting and special offers of chicken has to be halted, as it undermines everything that chicken farmer does on a daily basis.
Boylan said that poultry producers’ groups were requesting urgent meetings with their processors and egg packers, to renegotiate current agreements which have been in place for 3 years and now need to be upgraded for farmers.
Speaking from Brussels today, IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said the decision of the EU to ban another 20 Brazilian meat plants because they fail to meet EU standards fully backs up the repeated calls from the IFA to reject any increase in meat imports from Brazil in the Mercosur negotiations.