Ireland receiving a negligible BSE risk status “paves the way” for the abolition of the 30-month limit, according to the Irish Beef and Lamb Association (IBLA).

The IBLA – recently rebranded from one arm of the Beef Plan Movement – congratulated Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue and his department for obtaining the status “on behalf of Irish beef farmers”.

In a statement yesterday evening (Thursday, May 27), the organisation said:

“This is a significant development, which now paves the way for the abolition of the ‘under 30 months’ upper age limit retail specification.”

Continuing, the organisation claimed: “It is abundantly clear that the request by meat processors for farmers to supply cattle under 30 months – particularly when a large percentage of animals born in Ireland today is concentrated in to a three-month period during the spring – spells out that the model is broken.”

The IBLA added that the under 30 months upper age limit requirement is now “merely a management tool for meat processors to control price paid to suppliers”.

Describing the under 30 months rule as “anti-competitive”, the association said:

“IBLA now calls on all retailers to support primary producers and to request the abolition of the under 30 month upper age limit requirement on farmers, who supply livestock for slaughter.”

Continuing, the organisation called for farm groups to unite on behalf of Irish farmers to “abolish this anti-competitive control mechanism on farmers”.

Turning to the topic of an independent meat regulator, which has been the subject of recent discussions in the Dáil, the organisation thanked TDs who made representations seeking the regulator.

Providing detail on its views on such a regulator, the IBLA said:

“Farmers must have an independent officer to turn to, who will be well resourced, be able to concentrate on the meat industry alone and have legislative powers to regulate the meat industry.”

“The meat industry is not regulated and primary producers must be supported in their campaign to have an ‘independent meat regulator’ appointed,” the organisation concluded.