IFA to meet FSAI on pig mislabelling

‘Love Irish Food‘ has confirmed to AgriLand that it had no forewarning that the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) was to commission DNA testing of pigmeat products in retail outlets.

“Nor had we any input into this work,” added Love Irish Food Director Kieran Rumley.

“I am extremely disappointed that one of our member companies has been caught up in this issue. However, it is a small, artisan business and constitutes only one of the 100 brands represented within our portfolio.

“Love Irish Food has a core objective of promoting brands with a strong Irish provenance. I know that sometimes consumes get confused when considering products such as tea, coffee, orange juice and chocolate in this context. However, the reality is that Cadbury Ireland employs 800 people at Coolock.”

Meanwhile Bord Bia has confirmed to AgriLand that the percentage of the organisation’s quality assured product at retail level in Ireland is high. During Bord Bía’s most recent retail audit (September 2013) – 92 per cent of the pork was Bord Bía Quality Assured, bacon at 72 per cent and rashers at 73 per cent. However in 2012 Ireland imported approximately 82,000 tonnes of pigmeat. This product is used within the foodservice, wholesale and manufacturing sectors with a percentage re-exported.

Bord Bía is not commenting specifically on the Pig DNA analysis results carried out on behalf of the IFA.

A Bord Bía spokesperson said: “Bord Bia is not involved in this DNA testing.  The tests are carried out on non Bord Bía quality assured products. If consumers want to know where their pork and bacon comes from, they should buy produce carrying the Bord Bia Quality Mark.”

Significantly, the IFA is encouraging shoppers to take the very same approach when it comes to their buying practises.

“Only the Quality Mark label, endorsed by Bord Bía, gives Irish consumers the full re-assurance that the foods they are buying are home produced and processed. And we are happy to stand over this assertion in all cases,” an IFA spokesperson commented.

Agriland has also learned that the IFA is to meet the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) on the DNA testing issue in Dublin next Monday morning.

An FSAI spokesperson said: “Pigmeat products do not have to display the country of origin on the label, unless the absence of this information could mislead consumers as to the true origin of the food. The FSAI will be glad to meet with the IFA to discuss its specific findings.”

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