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ICSA Queries Lack of Supermarket Representation at Beef Roundtable

Aug 27, 2014 | Press Releases | 0 comments

27th August 2014

ICSA has queried the absence of supermarket representatives from the beef roundtable forum set up by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney earlier this year in response to the crisis in the beef industry.

“Only last week Minister Coveney said on radio that all players in the beef industry were involved in the roundtable talks, but this is not the case,” said ICSA beef chairman Edmond Phelan. “As we’ve seen recently, the supermarkets are dictating labelling policy and also influencing factory specifications, so why are they not at the table? They are key stakeholders in the beef sector and need to be held accountable for the role of their practices in creating and prolonging the crisis.”

“Meat factories are constantly peddling the line that changes in their specifications and penalties are as a result of supermarket demands. If that is so, let the supermarkets come in and explain their position and the research behind it,” continued Mr. Phelan. “The last meeting of the forum was held on June 3rd, and Minister Coveney has committed to quarterly meetings. We have no indication yet as to when the next meeting will take place, but we are now asking the Minister to ensure that the supermarkets are represented there.”

The beef roundtable forum was set up by Minister Coveney in April and has so far involved farm organisations, beef processors and relevant state agencies.  It held its first meeting on April 17th, after which the Minister committed to quarterly meetings, with the second held on June 3rd.

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ICSA president Dermot Kelleher has said ICBF have gone too far with their changes to the beef breeding indexes regarding pedigree bulls. Commenting on the changes which came into effect this week Mr Kelleher said, “ICSA met with ICBF back in early November where we were reassured that no drastic changes would be made; this has turned out to be far from the case however. The changes are proving to have considerable ramifications for farmers participating in the SCEP scheme and indeed for the future of the suckler sector as a whole,” he said.

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