ASDA happy to take bulls up to 450kg -ICSA
ICSA beef chairman Edmond Phelan has slammed the proposed 380kg weight specs in factories as a double standard, claiming instead that Asda- a key customer for Irish beef in the UK- is happy to take bulls up to 450kg from British farmers.
“The UK retailer Asda has openly advised British farmers that it is a customer for young bulls up to 450kg. How can Irish beef processors be believed when they say that 380kg is a requirement?”
Mr Phelan was referring to comments made by Mr Pearce Hughes, Asda agriculture manager last week who said that Asda accept bulls up to 450kg. “This will add to farmer suspicions that the weight limits are simply a device to cut prices paid for significant numbers of bulls. Throughout the spring, ICSA has been inundated with calls from members who have lost 15c or more for young bulls over 420kg, even though some of these bulls have graded U3 or better.”
“This amounts to a loss of €60 upwards on prime cattle that meet all the other grade requirements, and usually come from quality assured farms. The meat industry is now warning that the 420kg limit is to be reduced to 380kg, which will increase the cuts to farmers.
Now that we can see that the meat industry here has been exaggerating the requirements of British retailers, it is even clearer that this industry needs closer scrutiny and monitoring. We have to have oversight and the ability to independently verify claims made by the processors to justify price cuts. Unilateral changes to spec, without consultation or lead-in time cannot be permitted. This is why ICSA has been correct to call for a regulator with real power of investigation, particularly when we see that the meat processors cannot be trusted on what the retailers really need.”