The IFA’s pigmeat DNA testing campaign has been slammed as both ‘sinister’ and ‘unhelpful’ by the Associated Craft Butchers of Ireland Chief Executive (ACBI), John Hickey.

The testing itself, which showed that nearly one-third of pigmeat samples tested in butcher shops around the country were not Irish, was also questioned by Hickey.

According to Hickey the ACBI have a certification process in place which validates butcher shops and is independently audited.

“I don’t know which butchers are involved at the outset,” he said.

“I find the whole case sinister and unhelpful. Craft butchers don’t import product.”

Furthermore, he said, there is no legal obligation to display the country of origin in Ireland.

However, he cited impending EU legislation which comes into force on April 1 which will require country of origin information to be displayed on all food products and said he welcomed this.

“The IFA has selected us as a target, because we are an easy target,” he said.

“If the IFA was doing its job it would ensuring that pigmeat was produced cost efficiently and to a proper standard in terms of quality and consistency.

“If that was the case there would be no need for pigmeat imports,” he said.

Hickey said if farm organisations in other countries were taking the same stance we would not be able to export our product.

Hickey also said that he had serious reservations surrounding the IFA testing process itself.

He said there was no reference samples left with the business in question and also said there was no way of guaranteeing that the National pig database was 100% accurate.

Hickey said that IFA’s campaign was a ‘cheap shot’ against butchers many of whom are pig producers and IFA members.

“A name and shame policy in an open market place, by an organisation with no statutory authority, is highly questionable,” he said.

READ: Foreign pigmeat must be labelled as such