Meat Industry Ireland hits back in row over spring lamb prices

Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has hit back at criticism from the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) on the subject of lamb prices.

Condemning the comments from the ICSA, the MII stated its objections in no uncertain terms.

“MII has hit back at what it describes as highly offensive and unacceptable comments made this week [by the ICSA] in relation to sheep-meat processors and current spring lamb prices,” it said.

The sheep-meat processing industry and all those involved in it have and will continue to work hard to secure the best markets for Irish lamb, while returning the highest possible price to its farmer suppliers, MII Director, Cormac Healy, said.

Healy described the comments made by the ICSA as ‘disingenuous, completely lacking in substance and seeking only to impugn the integrity of lamb processors’.

Processors are acutely aware of the higher costs associated with spring lamb and also the role they play in the yearly supply cycle.

“The current spring lamb price is ahead of this time last year and is reflecting the returns achievable across the full range of markets,” he said.

These comments come in the wake of the ICSA describing supermarket price levels for spring lamb as ‘unsustainably low‘, singling out Tesco for ‘undermining’ premium spring lamb producers by ‘off-loading’ spring lamb at a price of €8.69/kg.

Also Read: Sheep farmers slam ‘below-cost’ spring lamb supermarket prices

Sheep Chairman of the ICSA, John Brooks, had said that farmers are not being fairly compensated for the work involved in producing a quality product.

He claimed that spring lamb is not being marketed as a premium product and should be more in-line with salmon production, with a premium perception and a matching price.