On current proposals, PGI for beef is ‘likely to do more harm than good’ – Cullinan

The president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Tim Cullinan, has said that he was astounded when he saw the details of Bord Bia’s proposed application for protected geographical indication (PGI) status for Irish grass-fed beef.

He said: “Bord Bia have gone back on their commitments to treat all categories of animal the same. They have banned all young bulls and other categories of animals [from the PGI] even if they meet the grass-fed criteria.

Also Read: Irish Grass Fed Beef PGI application: Bulls excluded with travel limit inserted

“They also appear to have removed the latitude for animals to be indoors for longer…in certain circumstances.

“This may be needed in some years in parts of the country where animals have to be housed earlier, due to weather conditions,” he said.

‘Out of the blue’

Cullinan continued:

They have introduced, completely out of the blue, a new transport aspect which would appear to suggest that animals must go to a factory less than two hours away.

“They also suggest that a licensed haulier must transport them. This is completely unacceptable.

“The animal’s meat now has to be ‘a more pronounced cherry red’ with ‘creaminess’. These new ‘colour criteria’ are to be ruled on by a ‘quality control inspector’ for the meat processor.

‘The last thing we need’

“The last thing we need in factories is a new layer of graders…to rule on meat colour and ‘creaminess’,” he added.

“When [the] PGI was raised at the recent Beef Market Taskforce meeting, it was clear that it needed a lot more discussion. The only party that was completely in favour of Bord Bia’s concept was Meat Industry Ireland.

“The detail behind this proposal has been driven by Meat Industry Ireland and the factories. This will give factories even more control over farmers.

As far as I’m concerned, farmers must be at the heart of this process. Any benefit in the marketplace must accrue to farmers, as we are the ones who are creating the value by grass-feeding our animals.

“I am seeking a meeting with the Minister for Agriculture to discuss this whole PGI issue. Based on the current proposal, it’s likely to do more harm than good for farmers,” Cullinan concluded.