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Jul 21, 2023 | Latest News, Press Releases | 0 comments

ICSA today met with the new AgriFood Regulator Niamh Lenehan to outline the key tasks that ICSA want prioritised by the new office. Speaking following the meeting, ICSA president Dermot Kelleher said, “ICSA believes that a priority task is to deliver transparency on the fifth quarter. This is the key to unlocking the unfairness in the food chain and to understanding why the beef and lamb food chains are not delivering a fair price to the primary producer.”

“The Bord Bia tracker would suggest that, over the past year, the value of offal and hide has been worth in the range of 41c to 53c/kg carcass equivalent. The problem is that Bord Bia estimates are based on USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) data, which may or may not properly reflect the values in the European context.

Nevertheless, as Bord Bia acknowledges, the offal values are reflective of international markets. Moreover, the potential to add value to the fifth quarter is very much already in place in the Irish processing sector, with links to energy, cosmetics, and pet food.”

“Even if we accept that 50c/kg is the value, this suggests that offal alone is delivering €180/head to the average carcass of 360kg. Farmers do not get paid directly for this. On the other hand, ICSA is adamant that there is enough data to suggest that beef processing and retailing are both deriving margins from the beef.”

The ICSA president said that this was only one of the many items discussed with the regulator. “ICSA welcomes the appointment of the regulator. We recalled that transparency in the food chain and the need for a regulator were the first thing we asked for when we met Phil Hogan on his appointment as EU Commissioner. In an ideal world, there would have been a pan-European regulator but the political realities in Brussels limited him to the Unfair Trading Practices Directive. Nonetheless, this has paved the way for the Irish regulator and the Government must provide adequate support to make this work.”

Mr Kelleher said that the initial budget of €4 million for the office would be a start but that a higher budget going forward would be essential to ensure that the office had the resources and skilled staff to deliver real results. 

“ICSA expressed the hope that the CbCR (Country by Country Reporting Directive – “European Union (Disclosure of income tax information by certain undertakings and branches) Regulations 2023”) would be helpful in supporting the work of the regulator in bringing transparency to the food chain in the case of products like beef and lamb. These new regulations apply to entities with a turnover in excess of €750 million which have, up to now, been able to hide behind unlimited liability status.”

“We also asked for an examination of the economics of imported beef and transparency about what is the purpose of the 14,000 tons of imported beef in the first three months of 2023, as disclosed by the CSO earlier this year. It is surprising that a country that exports nine out of every 10 tons of beef produced in Ireland should also have recourse to importing beef. A similar exercise needs to be carried out in respect of imported lambs.”

ICSA also discussed the need for the recruitment of suitably qualified and experienced people in the areas of forensic accounting, international trade and food economics and the retail trade.  

Pic attached: ICSA

Caption:  ICSA meeting with the newly appointed AgriFood Regulator Niamh Lenehan in Portlaoise today. (L-R) ICSA Beef chair Edmund Graham, ICSA president Dermot Kelleher, AgriFood Regulator Niamh Lenehan, ICSA Vice Beef chair John Cleary, ICSA general secretary Eddie Punch and ICSA Sheep chair Sean McNamara


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