Beef Plan Movement (BPM) held a “positive and productive” meeting with Aldi Ireland this week, where ongoing issues regarding the supply of beef in Ireland were discussed at length.

The farm lobby group says the meeting facilitated “the sharing of information” and it is understood that both parties have committed to remaining in contact.

The delegation from BPM included: Enda Fingleton its south-east regional chairman; Kieran Delaney of its Offaly branch; and Brendan Barry of the movement’s Leitrim branch.

In a statement BPM’s spokesperson Dermot O’Brien outlined the key areas that were addressed.

“Aldi confirmed that all of its fresh meat, including its fresh beef, is 100% Irish and Bord Bia approved. This is a long-standing cornerstone of its commitment to the customer and it has no plans to change this

“Both sides looked forward to the proper commencement of the Beef Market Taskforce as soon as possible, with all relevant parties at the table.

“Aldi confirmed it would comply with all requests from the taskforce and, in particular, would be participating in the customer and market requirement component of the process,” the statement reads.

BPM maintained its position that certain market specifications represent “unfair trading practices” – in particular the much-debated 30-month age limit for slaughtering cattle.

Aldi confirmed it was carrying out its own analysis of 30-month versus 36-month from a scientific and consumer perspective and this would form part of its engagement with the Beef Market Taskforce.

“BPM stressed that 30 months had been introduced in 2001 as a countermeasure to BSE and the rules had been changed across 15 other EU states in 2009.

“There is no valid retail requirement for the 30-month rule,” the statement continued.

Carbon footprint

The carbon footprint on beef was also discussed with a comparative analysis of different types of production (such as: grass-fed; grain-fed; and organic) also examined.

Further analysis on this is expected to take place between the parties.

BPM and Aldi both agreed that the beef industry must “work effectively” for the benefit of consumers. It was also acknowledged that beef farmers themselves represent “a unique key stakeholder base” as consumers and producers.

Commenting on the meeting Kieran Delaney said: “It was very positive. We found Aldi to be open, transparent and extremely supportive of Irish farmers.

“We will keep the dialogue going with them on behalf of our members, the wider farming community and Irish consumers,” he said.