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Nov 30, 2015 | Press Releases | 0 comments

30th November, 2015

ICSA beef chairman Edmond Phelan has accused the ABP group of colluding in treachery with UK supermarkets to completely undermine any prospect of live exports of cattle to the UK.  “News that the ABP group are introducing a new price grid in England which imposes a £1 sterling/ kg cut for cattle finished in England but which were born in Ireland is shocking.  It is manifestly a blatant attempt by retailers and processors to kill off any prospects of live exports and the motivation is to keep farmers in chains.”

UK retailers have claimed that UK consumers cannot understand or accept cattle reared in Ireland, finished in England.  “Where is the independent consumer research to back up this claim?” asked Mr Phelan.  “Consumers in Italy, who can hardly be described as less discerning than British consumers, have no difficulty.  Hence we have live exports to Italy.  It is clear that ICSA’s success in getting a live route opened by Stena to the UK has caused concern among beef processors who are doing everything in their power to close live exports.”

It is clear that Minister Coveney needs to take a very strong line on this.  It is absolutely futile to be out in Africa or anywhere else trying to open new markets for beef when the processors are trying to take away any prospect of a reasonable margin for cattle producers in this country.”

“ICSA is now calling on the Minister to suspend all efforts to open up new markets for beef and to instead concentrate on opening up as many live export markets as possible.  It is an embarrassment to see a Minister working so hard for beef factories when they are showing such contempt for the livelihoods of ordinary farmers here.”

ICSA has already attended meetings in Brussels to find solutions to this labelling issue and will continue to work to find a way through the impasse.  It is clear that country of origin labelling for beef is being misused in a way not envisaged by legislators.   It again shows the need for robust regulation of the food chain at EU level.  The EU Commission must face up to the fact that the Single European Market is being circumvented by greedy retailers.  Free movement of goods is a fundamental principle of the European Union; the question now is whether our Government and Brussels are going to stand idly by and allow it to be destroyed by greed.”  


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