Kerry under fire for using imported pork in Galtee and Denny products
Kerry Foods is refuting claims that it does not support Irish pig farmers, as the IFA picketed its Wicklow plant today over its use of imported pigmeat.
At the protest outside Kerry Foods in Wicklow, IFA National Chairman Jer Bergin accused Kerry of trading on its Irish brands but failing pig producers by using imported pigmeat.
He said Kerry must step up and make a far greater effort to support Irish pig farmers and stop misleading consumers about the origin of its products.
Results for the last quarter of 2015, he said, show that only 22% of Galtee rashers have the Bord Bia Quality Assured logo, signifying Irish origin.
However, a spokesman for Kerry said (in relation to the Galtee and Denny ranges), the logo not appearing on the packaging does not mean the product inside is not Irish.
He said it was not possible to carry the Bord Bia Quality Assurance logo on a consistent basis due to the fact that non-Irish pigmeat is used at times.
However, he refused to say how much Irish pigmeat was used in the range on an annual basis, or how much imported pigmeat was used.
Kerry: we are the biggest purchaser of Irish pigmeat
He said Kerry is the biggest purchaser and user of Irish pigmeat, however he would not disclose how much Irish pigmeat Kerry buys on an annual basis or for individual brands.
But, he said, Kerry is not able to buy consistent volumes of the pigmeat it needs from Irish sources for some of its brands.
Volumes can double from one week to the next, he said, and you cannot always buy the meat you need. “The product line has to be consistent.
“It is wrong to say we are not big users of Irish pigmeat,” and while he admitted that the pigmeat industry is a competitive business, he said it was not down to price but consistency of supply.
According to the IFA, today’s protest was held to vent the anger felt by pig farmers at the persistent use by processors of brands that portray Irish origin on non-Irish product, while Irish pig farmers are experiencing the worst income crisis in decades.
Pig prices are currently more than 20c/kg below the cost of production, meaning a loss to the average pig farmer of €5,000 per week.
IFA’s Jer Bergin said pig farmers are constantly told by processors that the home market gives the greatest return for their product.
“For this reason, farmers have made huge efforts to protect their home market, but the continued use of non-Irish pig meat in household brands such as Galtee, Denny and others is clearly undermining that effort.”