A decision is expected from Europe by the end of next month (May) on Ireland’s application for Protected Geographical Indication – PGI – status for ‘Irish Grass Fed Beef’.

The application, which is being spearheaded by Bord Bia while also involving consultation with the Beef Market Taskforce, farm organisations and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), was submitted to the European Commission for consideration in November 2020.

A spokesperson for the European Commission has told Agriland that according to EU regulations, the commission has six months from the date of application to finalise its examination.

This would mean that the commission’s examination of the PGI application would have to be complete by May 27.

PGI status for ‘Irish Grass Fed Beef’

‘Irish Grass Fed Beef’ is the name given to quality Irish beef from cattle raised on a grass-based diet on pasture grazing farms in Ireland, which derive at least 90% of their feed intake from grass.

They must also spend a minimum of 220 days per year throughout their lifetime grazing pasture in accordance with the Bord Bia Grass Fed Standard.

Under the EU quality schemes, achieving PGI recognition for products enables consumers to trust and distinguish quality products while also helping producers to market their products better.

PGI status is a type of intellectual property right, protecting food product names which are linked to a particular territory or to a particular production method, e.g. Connemara Hill Lamb.

A successful PGI application to the European Commission would allow Irish beef, which meets the specification, to bear the PGI logo.

All-island PGI

Previously, Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, said he would continue to engage with Northern Ireland Minister for Agriculture, Edwin Poots, and his stakeholders in Northern Ireland to pursue all-island PGI status for ‘Irish Grass Fed Beef’.

Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) chief executive, Ian Stevenson, has confirmed that work is progressing to demonstrate that Northern Ireland’s beef industry readily meets the grass-fed criteria laid out by Bord Bia in the application.

Stevenson recently told Agriland: “The agreed end point is to generate information on each animal slaughtered in Northern Ireland that is fully comparable with that made available by Bord Bia for cattle processed in the Republic of Ireland.”