PGI status for Irish suckler beef: What’s the progress to date?

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has provided an update to its efforts in attaining Protected Geographical Indicaton (PGI) status for Irish suckler beef, with officials currently looking into key aspects required for an application.

However, a formal national consultation period will be required for any submission – which can only be made by, or on behalf of, a group of producers, according to the department.

In a statement to AgriLand, a spokesperson for the department said: “It is widely recognised that Irish beef is produced to the highest standard and is recognised for its taste and quality and that an opportunity to market more effectively the characteristics associated with Irish beef exists through gaining GI (Geographical Indication) status.”

The department organised a workshop on Geographical Indications earlier this year, with participation by the European Commission and a range of stakeholders.

At this workshop, the possibility of applying for a PGI for Irish beef was explored, with “very positive feedback from participants at the workshop”, according to the spokesperson.

Where there are large numbers of producers it can be a “significant undertaking, requiring a disciplined and harmonised approach to production and its verification”, the representative said.

“Department officials are continuing to examine the key elements required in such an application, and have met with Teagasc, Bord Bia, the EU Commission and other key stakeholders since the conference in order to provide clarity on developing an application and appropriate verification criteria.

An application can only be submitted by, or on behalf of, a group of producers.

“A formal national consultation period is also required,” the department representative concluded.

Under the controversial EU-Mercosur Agreement announced last week, a number of GI status goods were mentioned, to be protected from imitation in the four South American countries.

According to the European Commission: “Mercosur countries will also put in place legal guarantees protecting from imitation 357 high-quality European food and drink products recognised as GIs.”