The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association is welcoming the announcement that McDonald’s has awarded a lucrative contract to Dawn Meats for the processing of up to 18,000 tonnes of Irish beef annually for its extensive restaurant chain.
The ICSA’s Beef Committee Chairman, Edmond Phelan says the €300 million euro contract is a major boost for the Irish beef industry. “McDonald’s is already the single largest buyer of Irish beef, and the fact that it expects to grow this further in the coming years is hugely encouraging. McDonald’s was one of the most high-profile participants in the ICSA Restaurant Certification scheme, and today one in five beef burgers served in McDonald’s restaurants across Europe is made from Irish beef.”
The McDonald’s contract means that Dawn Meats will be investing €14.5 million in a new, state of the art beef processing plant in Carroll’s Cross, Co. Waterford, creating 65 new jobs. It solidifies Ireland’s position as a strategically important market for the global restaurant chain and means that Irish beef, which had previously been shipped to the UK and Europe for processing, will now be processed here, adding value to the beef products being exported from Ireland.
“The Dawn Meats contract and subsequent investment is hugely significant for the whole industry; and is a further indication of the high level of confidence consumers have in Irish beef products, both here and abroad,” Mr. Phelan added.
The announcement comes on top of a visit to Ireland by Vice Minister Gao Hongbin, from the Chinese Agriculture Ministry, marking a significant step forward in the efforts to begin exporting Irish beef to China. A full technical team is also due to come to Ireland in the coming weeks, to examine first hand the controls applying to beef production here.
“I think this is a very exciting prospect for Irish beef producers and processors. If the industry is to remain strong and vibrant then developing new markets is absolutely crucial, and the Chinese market would open up a world of opportunities,” according to Mr. Phelan.
“This visit, which is a follow up to the visit of Chinese Vice President Xi Jingping, demonstrates a real interest by the Chinese Government in our beef, which is hugely positive for the future.”