Irish beef is likely to come under the spotlight at the UK’s beef summit, which has been set for Tuesday, July 1.

Calls are being made for increased promotion of the ‘Red Tractor’ symbol – to show the product is British – on British beef, while the National Farmers Union (NFU) has come under fire for not differentiating UK and Irish beef standards.

The UK is Ireland’s most important export market for Irish food and drink exports, with 42% of Irish food and drink exports going to the UK, with beef exports worth €1.1 billion last year.

UK Farming Minister George Eustice will host the summit on Tuesday, which will discuss the long-term sustainability of the beef industry in the UK.

A Defra spokesperson said: “Britain’s beef industry is hugely important for the farming sector. Our summit will bring together all sections of the beef industry to discuss its long term sustainability and how UK farmers, processors and supermarkets can work together better.”

NFU President Meurig Raymond said with a reduced beef supply forecast as we reach the end of the year, and with fewer cattle coming forward, there needs to be a change of attitude and a realisation that beef farmers have no option but to work to a long term plan. “It’s impossible to work to do that when everyone else is thinking in the short term. It is a cliché that we have used before, but the beef supply is not a tap that can be turned on and off at a moment’s notice.”

The move comes just weeks after farming union leaders from the IFA, Ulster Farmers’ Union, NFU Scotland, NFU Cymru, and the National Farmers’ Union met at a Presidential Summit in London to discuss the current beef situation.