Vested interests and lack of transparency across entire food chain

Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) president, Patrick Kent, has questioned the financing of the “Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT – Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems” report.

The report was published on Wednesday and is a joint initiative of the EAT Forum and The Lancet medical journal.

Lancet report

The Lancet report urges massive changes to people’s diets all over the world in order to achieve “food transformation” and reduce carbon emissions by 2050.

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“There is a huge agenda behind that report,” fumed Kent. “There are plenty of red herrings thrown into the mix too.

“There is a massive consumerism built around unhealthy eating – health insurance, gyms, etc – and massive vested interests in getting people to eat unhealthily.”

The ICSA president then pointed to fresh produce and the important role it has in bringing people into a supermarket in the first instance.

“The one thing that will bring people into shops now is fresh, unprocessed food. That includes meat, vegetables and fruit.

The Lancet will print anything to increase health costs; this is not a World Health Organisation (WHO) report either and that is a very crucial factor in all of this.

Beef crisis

Meanwhile, Kent also spoke about the beef crisis and pointed to the need for “total transparency” in the sector.

“There has to be total transparency in the beef industry in terms of where the money is going; the large multiples are driving the price down and there also needs to be a complete review of An Bord Bia measures in relation to it.

“If we are going to be made into weak sellers then those measures definitely need to be reviewed with urgency,” he added.

Intervention commitment

The ICSA president went on to say that intervention was necessary.

Production needs to be scaled down and spending needs to stop; until we get transparency on the money chains and see where the leaks are, cutting production is necessary.

“Intervention is needed and private storage should also be examined as well,” he added.

Meanwhile, Kent pointed to the 3% over-supply in the market and the levies Bord Bia is currently in receipt of.

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“Trim levels on carcasses at the factories will have to be policed and farmers need to be brought back onto the kill lines; the power needs to come back into the farmer’s hands,” he said.

“There needs to be a review of everything the farmer does including in dry-stock farming and the Bord Bia Quality Assurance scheme also needs to be examined.”