‘Brazilian scandal can benefit Irish poultry sector’

The Irish poultry sector can benefit in the wake of the recent Brazilian scandal, according to the IFA’s Poultry Committee Chairman Nigel Renaghan.

As part of the scandal, it is alleged that potato, water and cardboard were mixed with chicken meat to boost profits at some Brazilian processing plants.

Renaghan believes a blanket ban should be placed on all Brazilian poultry imports into the EU, until a full and transparent investigation can be carried out.

“An enormous amount of chicken you see in Delis and fast-food outlets is imported, with Brazil being a key importer.

“The one outlet that has committed to using 100% Irish chicken is Supermac’s, a decision which has benefited the company hugely.

If a proper investigation is carried out, it could take a number of years to complete.

A level playing field needs to be created, as Irish poultry producers cannot compete with producers who are not forced to adhere to the same regulations, the IFA’s Poultry Committee Chairman said.

“The amount of money, standards and paperwork that is involved for Irish poultry farmers is enormous.

“Farmers have to adhere to regulations from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Bord Bia, supermarkets, the Environmental Protection Agency as well as County Council regulations.

“All we’re trying to do is to produce the highest-quality product possible.

“Of course, there is a higher cost of production if you are meeting these world-class standards and poultry farmers need to be rewarded for that.

If you want the best, you have to pay that little bit extra for it. That’s just a fact of life.

In the wake of the Brazilian scandal, more export opportunities could arise for Irish poultry products. Especially given the reputation of the Irish poultry sector for consistently meeting world-class standards, he added.

Renaghan also believes that the Irish poultry sector has the potential to double in size over the next 10 years.