Slight changes made to ‘Grass-Fed Beef’ PGI application

Slight changes have been made to the documentation for the protected geographic indication (PGI) application for ‘Irish Grass-Fed Beef’, AgriLand understands.

The altered documents on the PGI were shown to members of the Beef Market Taskforce yesterday (Wednesday, September 23).

Among some of the changes to the documents, it is understood that the section that references travel time between farmers and meat processing facilities has been reworded.

When the document was first released, farm organisations had taken this section to mean that the referenced two-hour travel time from farmers to processors was a requirement for PGI status. Bord Bia was quick to stress that it was not a requirement but instead a general feature of the Irish beef sector.

AgriLand understands that the wording in the PGI document has been slightly changed to reflect what Bord Bia had intended to mean by referencing travel times.

The documents also clear-up a bit of confusion over the role of hauliers, after farm organisations raised concerns – after the initial release of the documents – that the use of registered and approved hauliers was a requirement.

Again, after that confusion arose, Bord Bia stated that it was not a requirement that hauliers be used, but if they were used they would have to be registered and approved. It is understood that the PGI documents have been altered to reflect this.

Another change that is thought to have been added indicates that the verification of the characteristics of the beef (in terms of meat and fat colour) to qualify for PGI status would be carried out through the Meat Processor Quality Assurance Scheme (MPQAS) audits.

It is understood that a great deal of time went in to debating the PGI application at yesterday’s meeting, resulting in a general lack of agreement.

It also appears that there was some movement yesterday on the potential for suckler beef branding, which some farm organisations had been pushing hard for.

The next taskforce meeting is scheduled for October 12, where further discussion around the PGI application will take place.