There’s no problem with foreign pigmeat as long as it’s labelled, says pig producer

Pig farmers have no problem with foreign meat being sold on Irish shelves as long as it’s properly labelled, according to pig producer and IFA Pig Committee member, Tom Sherman.

His comments come on the back of a recent IFA DNA testing survey of pigmeat which showed that nearly one-third of samples tested in butcher shops around the country were not Irish and says the misleading of consumers remains a serious issue.

The IFA also found that a number of stores are stocking imported loin chops. Of the 26 products that were not Irish, 40% were loin chops and 44% were back rashers.

Sherman said it’s up to the consumers to push the case harder.

“The consumer needs to ask where the meat is from.

“But, it must be made much clearer,” he said.

“Consumers are not able to identify what’s Irish and what’s not in butchers on the streets and in supermarkets.”

According to Sherman, who is also on the IFA’s Pig Committee’s DNA subgroup, he has ‘no problem with foreign meat if you but up a sign saying this is not Irish meat’.

“We don’t need to import meat in Ireland. Irish pig producers are supplying plenty of meat for the Irish industry.”

Sherman said that there are also questions over the quality and standard of the pork that is being imported into the country.

“The standard of meat being imported into this country is not as good as our Bord Bia Quality Assured pigmeat,” he said.

He outlined that Bord Bia Quality Assured pigmeat is allowed only 10-12% of added water which compares to in the region of 18-20% in imported meat.

“Butchers and supermarkets are using imported pigmeat to undercut Irish producers,” he said.

Pig prices have been hit very hard over the last six months with prices back over 40c/kg, according to Sherman.

According to Sherman, DNA testing is the most powerful tool that the pig industry has and is worth 10c/kg to pig producers.

The test is backed up by science, he said, the tool means the meat can be traced right back to the farm where it was produced.

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