IFA stages country-of-origin protest outside Kerry Foods

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) took to the streets in protest today (Friday, February 8) calling on Kerry Foods to source Irish produce for its products.

Addressing a protest at the Kerry Foods plant in Shillelagh, Co. Wicklow, IFA Poultry Committee chairman Andy Boylan said chicken growers are demanding a commitment from Kerry Foods to support Irish-produced chicken.

This, the IFA says, follows a revelation from the company that chicken sold under the Denny label of late did not come from Ireland.

Image source: Finbarr O’Rourke

The IFA has called for the country of origin of the primary source of meat used in prepared foods – such as the Denny chicken in question – to be clearly stated on the packaging to “stop misleading Irish consumers who thought they were buying locally-produced food”.

Boylan said: “This loophole in the current labelling legislation that Kerry Foods is exploiting to mislead consumers reinforces the importance of trusting the Bord Bia Quality Assurance label.”

He called on Irish MEPs and the EU Commissioner for Agriculture to “ensure that this issue is highlighted and addressed as a matter of urgency at EU legislative level”.

Poultry farmers have had their margins squeezed with all inputs increasing by 15-30% in the past two years.

“They need an increase to cover their costs, and don’t want to see an Irish food company, Kerry Foods, and their brand Denny which is perceived as an Irish brand, using imported product.”

Kerry response

A spokesperson for Kerry has said that the company used chicken sourced from the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the UK and other EU companies.

The representative stressed that Kerry Foods does not source meat from Brazil or any South American country, as some initial reports had suggested.

Image source: Finbarr O’Rourke