MEPs urged to block ‘attempt by plant-based products to ride on coat-tails of meat’

Irish MEPs have been urged to use their vote to “block an attempt by plant-based products to ride on the coat-tails of meat”, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Ahead of the plenary vote on meat and dairy denominations in the EU Parliament this week, the IFA has written to Irish MEPs urging them to accept both amendments to protect the industry and its consumers.

According to the organisation, these amendments will succeed in securing words such as ‘steak’, ‘sausage’, ‘escalope’, ‘burger’ or ‘hamburger’ for products that exclusively contain meat; and ‘milk’, ‘cheese’, ‘yoghurt’, ‘butter’ or ‘whey’ for products that exclusively contain dairy.

Commenting on the matter, IFA president Tim Cullinan said: “We simply cannot have plant-based products deliberately disguised as something they are not.

“It’s deliberately misleading to our consumers and undermines our industry.

“Private companies want to cash in on our reputation and use it to sell their products.

“There is a powerful lobby in Europe to reject these amendments, so it’s crucial that our MEPs listen to farmers on the ground and adopt them,” the president said.

Covid restriction ‘damage’

Meanwhile, the IFA is among a number of groups and companies that have signed an open letter to the government warning of the damage to the economy that would ensue from further Covid-19 restrictions.

The letter was signed by IFA president Tim Cullinan, as well as representatives from 13 trade associations and 436 individual businesses.

The letter states that the signatories are “increasingly concerned that the current Irish response is centred on restricting economic activity to a much greater extent than any other country in Europe”.